Neurocognitive biomarkers for affective disorders (the NEAD Group: Neurocognition and Emotion in Affective Disorders Group)

The group aims to identify neurocognitive and neuroimaging biomarkers of these affective disorders, develop new treatments targeting cognitive dysfunction and delineate the neurocognitive and neuroimaging mechanisms of established and novel treatments. 

We have shown that:

  1. Familial risk of depression is associated with enhanced fear vigilance and aberrant functional connectivity in fronto-limbic and occipito-parietal regions during emotional face processing in a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study of healthy monozygotic twins at high vs. low heritable risk for depression
  2. Short-term group-based cognitive remediation treatment has no beneficial effects on cognitive impairment in the first randomized, controlled trial of cognitive remediation in bipolar disorder
  3. The endogenous growth-factor erythropoietin (EPO) has beneficial effects on cognitive function in patients with affective disorders in two parallel randomised, placebo-controlled phase II trials
  4. EPO-treatment prevents subfield hippocampal volume loss across both unipolar and bipolar disorder and this structural change mediates patients' memory improvement
  5. EPO alters the neural activity in dorsal prefrontal cortex and the default-mode network during encoding and working memory which is a key neuronal underpinning of the EPO-associated improvement in cognition in patients with affective disorders

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