Brain Plasticity: The Effects of Antidepressants on Major Depression

Tuesday, January 8, 2019
Meet the Scientist - January 2019

Depression changes the brain. Imaging studies have reported thinning of the cortex, while structures such as the hippocampus show a loss of gray matter possibly associated with the loss of neurons and fewer neuronal connections. In mice, stress shrinks the hippocampus due to neuronal loss and smaller neurons and antidepressants increase the hippocampus back to pre-stress or to normal size and numbers of neurons increase. Our lab finds similar effects in comparing treated and untreated depression and seeks new targets for antidepressants. We need to better understand how antidepressants including SSRIs, lithium, and ketamine exert their therapeutic effects, so we can find newer more effective and rapidly acting treatments for depression.

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Presented by 
J. John Mann, M.D. - Brain & Behavior research expert on depression
J. John Mann, M.D.
Columbia University Medical Center

Paul Janssen Professor of Translational Neuroscience in Psychiatry and in Radiology, Columbia University Medical Center

Director of Research and Director of Molecular Imaging and Neuropathology Division, New York State Psychiatric Institute

Scientific Council Member (Joined 2003)

2008 Distinguished Investigator Grant

Dr. Mann’s research employs functional brain imaging, neurochemistry and molecular genetics to probe the causes of depression and suicide. He directs the NIMH Conte Center for the Neuroscience of Mental Disorders at Columbia University, conducting studies of risk factors for suicidal behavior in mood disorders, schizophrenia and personality disorders, focusing on the neurobiological basis of suicidal behavior. This work has defined a more comprehensive model that is now being tested in one of the largest prospective studies of suicidal patients ever mounted. He has been a pioneer in the study of the brain abnormalities that predispose patients to suicide and the brain abnormalities associated with recurrent major depression and bipolar disorder.

Dr. Mann is past President of the International Academy of Suicide Research. Prior to joining Columbia, he held faculty positions at Cornell University Medical College and University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

Moderated by 
Jeffrey Borenstein, M.D.
Brain & Behavior Research Foundation

President and CEO

Jeffrey Borenstein, M.D., serves as the President & CEO of the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, the largest private funder of mental health research grants. Dr. Borenstein developed the Emmy Award-nominated public television program “Healthy Minds,” and serves as host of the series. The program, which is broadcast nationwide, focuses on topics in psychiatry in order to educate the public, reduce stigma and offer a message of hope. Dr. Borenstein also serves as Editor-in-Chief of Psychiatric News, the newspaper of the American Psychiatric Association and as an Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.