The Emory Midlife Depression Study

As we age, our immune systems become more active in order to protect and heal our bodies from the natural effects of aging and increased exposure to harmful agents. Since many depressed patients show immune system changes during their depression spells, we believe there may be a link between the immune system and depression. The Emory Midlife Depression Study aims to discover if prolonged activation of an individual’s immune system due to aging damages designated areas of the brain, causing depression and mental decline.

Though depression is a common disorder, there are still many questions surrounding useful therapies. By better understanding the link between the immune system and depression, we hope to identify more effective treatments for depressed adults and improve their quality of life.

Participants may be eligible for the Emory Midlife Depression study if they are between ages 40-65. They will be invited from a pool of individuals who have completed the Emory Healthy Aging Study health history questionnaire. We are seeking participants who meet criteria for major depression, as well as those participants who do not. By comparing the immune systems and brain structure and chemistry of both depressed and non-depressed individuals, we will be able to determine the relationship between increased immune system activity and mental health.

If you wish to participate in this study, we will contact you by phone for additional details. If the study is a good match, you will visit the Emory Clinic for consent and additional screening. For the screening, you will answer questions regarding your depression and your general health history and receive both a research physical and a psychiatric evaluation, at no cost to you. If you are eligible, you will then have two one-day visits with us. During these visits, you will have psychological examinations, an MRI, and give blood and spinal fluid samples.

We will strive to make participation in this study as easy as possible! If you wish to participate in the Emory Midlife Depression Study, you must complete the Health History Questionnaire portion of the Emory Healthy Aging Study. You may also volunteer for this study by filling out the interest form to the side. Participating in the Emory Healthy Aging Study does not mean you must participate in the Emory Midlife Depression Study.

This is your opportunity to change the world for the better! Join us in our quest to improve quality of life for millions of individuals who suffer from mid-life depression!

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