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Prof Declan McLoughlinProfessor Declan McLoughlin

Research Summary

Based in St Patrick’s University Hospital and TCIN, our translational research focuses on both brain stimulation therapies and molecular biomarkers in psychiatry.  Supported by the HRB, we have completed recruitment to the EFFECT-Dep Trial, a large study of different forms of ECT for severe depression. Related projects include: longitudinal studies of the effects of depression on cognition; meta-analyses of the effectiveness of various forms of ECT and the effects of ECT and depression on cognition; preclinical studies on the mechanism of action of ECT; and investigating the roles of DNA, mRNA, miRNA, telomere length and plasma proteins as clinical biomarkers.

Up-regulating levels of brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) within the hippocampus in the brain is believed to be important for eliciting antidepressant effects.  The most powerful therapy for severe depression is electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).  However, not all  methods of ECT are effective in inducing such molecular changes.   We compared  brief pulse (0.5 ms) and ultrabrief pulse (0.3 ms) stimulation forms of ECT.   Although both forms induced identical types of generalised seizures, BDNF was significantly increased only in the brief pulse group compared to a control group. n=6 per group, **p<0.01 compared to control and UBP groups.

Up-regulating levels of brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) within the hippocampus in the brain is believed to be important for eliciting antidepressant effects.  The most powerful therapy for severe depression is electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).  However, not all  methods of ECT are effective in inducing such molecular changes.   We compared  brief pulse (0.5 ms) and ultrabrief pulse (0.3 ms) stimulation forms of ECT.   Although both forms induced identical types of generalised seizures, BDNF was significantly increased only in the brief pulse group compared to a control group. n=6 per group, **p<0.01 compared to control and UBP groups.

For further information about Professor Declan McLoughlin please view his CV Profile

For information on the Depression Neurobiology Research Group please visit the Discipline of Psychiatry website