Studies for Motor and Cognitive Slowing

L-DOPA vs. Placebo for Depression and Psychomotor Slowing in Older Adults 

The purpose of this research study is to test whether a medication called carbidopa/levodopa (Sinemet) is helpful for the treatment of depression in older adults. Individuals with Late Life Depression (LLD) often have cognitive problems, particularly problems with memory, attention, and problem solving, all of which contribute to antidepressant non-response. Our group and others have shown that decreased thinking speed is the central cause of functional problems in patients with LLD. Similarly, decreased walking speed is associated with depression and carries additional risk for falls, hospitalization, and death. Available evidence suggests that declining functionality in the brain's dopamine system contributes to age-related cognitive and motor slowing. Carbidopa/levodopa is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of Parkinson's Disease. We are using carbidopa/levodopa off-label in this study to see whether it is capable of improving depressive symptoms as well as mental and physical slowing that occur as people age.

Study Activities

  • Filling out forms
  • Blood samples
  • MRI
  • PET Scan


  • Ages eligible; 60 years and older
  • Genders eligible: All
  • This study is not recruiting healthy volunteers


For more information, please call Marika Chrisanthopouluos at 646-774-8697.