Groundbreaking study into depression

19 March 2009

Brain Dynamics Centre is launching a groundbreaking study.
Brain Dynamics Centre is launching a groundbreaking study.

Medical researchers from Sydney University's Brain Dynamics Centre have launched a world-first study that could lead to a dramatic improvement in how people are treated medically for depression.

More than 2000 people are being recruited from around the globe to take part in the study, titled "iSPOT-D: International Study to Predict Optimised Treatment - in Depression".

The study, sponsored by Brain Resource, will work with people who have been diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) to identify genetic, brain and cognitive markers that can predict specific responses to a range of antidepressants including sertraline, escitalopram, venlafaxine.

"This ground breaking study, which is being conducted at 20 research centres around the world, may change the way in which personalised medicine is implemented in depression,'' says University of Sydney Professor Lea Williams and director of the Brain Dynamics Centre.

Principal Investigator on the Study, Dr Anthony Harris said, "At the moment, there are no objective predictors of how someone will respond to antidepressants in MDD, and successful treatment relies greatly on trial and error".

"Currently there is a one-size-fits-all approach to making treatment decisions and anti depressants are presumed to be effective for all patients."

The Brain Dynamics Centre is seeking adults who have been diagnosed with MDD and are about to commence treatment or who are changing their medication.

Initially, participants will be assessed twice - before starting medication and eight weeks after medication.

The assessments will include answering clinical questions, completing tasks on a computer (for thinking and emotion), and brain imaging. There will also be a telephone follow up after 12 months. The clinical information will be graphed and reports sent to the participant's GP to help assess how the individual is going on and off medication.

*Brain Awareness Week runs from March 16-22.*

For further information please contact Professor Lea Williams, Director of the Brain Dynamics Centre: 9845 8195 or visit iSPOT_D.

For media inquiries contact Jacob O'Shaughnessy at theMedia Office on 61 2 9351 4312 or 0421 617 861 or