Depression Grand Challenge Newsletter
Lives are lost to suicide each year worldwide and depression is the strongest risk factor for suicide (World Health Organization)
The Depression Grand Challenge (DGC) is focused on cutting the burden of depression in half by 2050 and eliminating it by the end of the century. This immense multifaceted effort brings together UCLA faculty from over 25 departments to tackle depression from all angles. The DGC approach includes four components - an Innovative Treatment Network, the 100K study, strategies to raise Awareness & Hope and Discovery Neuroscience. This newsletter focuses on the Discovery Neuroscience component of the Depression Grand Challenge.


Discovery Neuroscience Component:
  • Understand neural mechanisms underlying depression, with the ultimate goal of developing new and better treatments 
Neuroscience meets engineering innovation
One of the best hopes for improved treatments for depression lies in learning how brain circuits are organized, and then developing ways to alter circuit anomalies that cause disease. Read more
Astrocytes may have a big impact
Depression - the most common cause of disability in the world - places serious demands on health services and is a major contributor to suicide.  Yet our ability to develop new, more effective treatments continues to hit obstacles largely due to a lack of understanding of the cellular and molecular basis of the illness.
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Studying flies holds the answer to misfiring brain circuits
Drosophila melanogaster, a.k.a. fruit flies, provide an optimal system for studying neuromodulation in the brain. Flies are an optimal model because they are easily manipulated during experimentation and their brains are complex enough for research findings to be applied to the human brain.
 Read more

Using tools to reveal the role of specific brain regions in depression
Studies looking at depression in humans and models of depression in animals show that depression involves changes in a part of the brain called the striatum. The striatum controls how we process rewards and attribute value to our experiences, while also regulating our goal-directed and habitual actions. 
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Shining a light on reproductive depression
Although women are twice as likely as men to experience depression, studies involving animals usually ignore this important aspect of the disease. The term "reproductive depression" denotes the depression in women that relates to the hormonal changes of the menstrual cycle, pregnancy and the menopause. 
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Up Next:

The newsletter for next quarter will highlight progress of the Innovative Treatment Network component of the Depression Grand Challenge.
Recent News:

To read the latest updates about the Depression Grand Challenge between newsletters, please visit our happenings page. A few recent features are linked below: