New model may lead to better treatments for depression after stroke

September 14, 2016

Dr. Paul Albert and his team have developed a new animal model to help test treatments for depression after stroke. Between 20 to 80 percent of stroke patients will be diagnosed with depression, which greatly impacts both their quality of life and ability to recover. Only a third of these patients will see complete relief with antidepressants, and it is hard to develop better treatments because the basic cause is still unknown. Current animal models of post-stroke depression have some mobility problems, which makes it difficult for researchers to tell if their behaviours are symptoms of depression. The model mice created by Dr. Albert and his team, described recently in Translational Psychiatry, consistently have long-term depression and no such mobility issues. They are using these mice to examine the effectiveness of exercise (a part of rehabilitation) and SSRIs, one of the most commonly prescribed antidepressants, for treating post-stroke depression. These studies will lead to a better understanding of what causes this condition and how these treatments work.

Authors: F. Vahid-Ansari, D.C. Lagace, Albert P.R.

Funders: Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Canadian Partnership for Stroke Recovery

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