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Mood & Development Lab

Current Projects

We are currently working on the following studies:

Anhedonia and Depression

This study uses the large population -based sample IMAGEN sample of adolescents to examine whether blunted responses to the brain’s reward network are specifically linked to the anhedonia symptom dimension of depression. Furthermore, we test to which extent aberrant neural responses to reward might be a liability marker by predicting clinical depressive outcomes two years later in healthy adolescents of the general population. 

Understanding the antidepressant mechanism of action of lurasidone for treatment in youth bipolar depression

This study uses neuroimaging techniques to investigate how lurasidone, a novel drug, modifies the brain networks involved in reward and emotion processing. By doing this we hope to understand the mechanisms underlying bipolar depression in young people and help define therapeutic targets in the brain.  

Developing physiological markers of mood states using arterial spin labeling

This study combines mood induction procedures with arterial spin labeling (ASL). ASL is a non-invasive MRI technique that is especially suited for examining sustained neural activation patterns, e.g. those that characterise mood states. We hope that finding reliable biomarkers of mood states will aid the diagnosis of mood problems in cases where it is uncertain (e.g. in very young children or individuals with communication difficulties).

Relation between different dimensions of manic symptoms and social aptitude in children and adolescents

In this study we examine the relation between social aptitude and manic symptoms by using data from The 2004 British Child and Adolescent Mental Health Survey. We test if this association could explain the diversity in the social impairments presented by children with manic symptoms.

Irritability and physiological responses to stress

This study explores symptom reporting and mechanisms of irritability in boys with high-functioning autism spectrum disorders (hfASD) and typically-developing controls. We used a multi-method (stress induction, questionnaires, cortisol levels and heart rate) and multi-informant design (self and parent report) to examine how irritability may be related to stress reactivity. Importantly, we found that irritability can be reliably measured in boys with hfASD using the Affective Reactivity Index.

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