Jean-Michel Le Melledo
Medicine & Dentistry-Psychiatry
University of Alberta
Summary of research:
Doctors have found that some women feel constant sadness (depression) in the years leading up to their last period. For some of these women, this is the first time they have experienced a change in mood this severe. At this time, women also experience changes in body chemicals (hormones) and brain chemicals. This tells us that these chemicals may be involved in the mood changes these women feel. This illness is called perimenopausal depression. A similar example occurs in some younger women who feel depressed during the week before their regular period when their hormones and brain chemical levels also change. This project looks at how changes in female body hormones affect the brain chemicals in woman with depression during the years before their last period. Previous studies have shown that two brain chemicals in particular, called GABA and glutamate, in an area in the front of the brain are most affected by the changes in female body hormones. By measuring these two chemicals, we expect to find an abnormal change in the amounts of these brain chemicals in women who feel depressed in the years leading up to their last period. We expect to find normal brain chemical levels in women who do not feel a change in mood during this time. During two visits, women in the experiment will be asked questions about their health and history, blood samples will be collected to measure their body hormones and images of their brains will be taken to measure their brain chemicals. The results of this experiment will tell us more about how female body hormones change brain chemicals and mood. It can also help us create new treatments for women who experience these specific mood changes.