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The Academy of Medical Sciences (Acmedsci) is an independent body in the UK representing the diversity of medical science. Their mission is to advance biomedical and health research and its translation into benefits for society.
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Dr Kaser presents his research into using the drug modafinil to help improve decision-making in patients with depression.
Depression is typically associated with issues such as low mood, sleep disturbances and appetite problems. But some of the most persistent and long-lasting issues facing patients with depression are cognitive problems involving concentration, memory and decision-making. These cognitive problems do not respond to traditional anti-depressant treatment, leaving patients with a clear unmet need.
Originally licensed for use in narcolepsy, the drug modafinil modulates dopamine and norepinephrine levels areas of the brain involved in learning and decision making. In this study, Dr Kaser used a reinforcement learning task to show that modafinil improved patients’ ability to explore options when making a decision – and so leads to improved decision-making outcomes. This suggests that modafinil could be a valuable tool for improving cognition in patients with depression.
Dr Muzaffer Kaser is an NIHR Clinical Lecturer at the Department of Psychiatry, University of Cambridge.
Our Clinical Academics in Training Annual Conference, or CATAC, offers early career researchers the chance to present work and receive feedback from senior panelists in a truly interdisciplinary setting. The conference gives clinical academics the chance to meet people from all areas of biomedical science, and share ideas from many different perspectives.
This presentation, ‘Computational approach to reinforcement learning in patients with remitted depression: results from a double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled study’ was runner-up in the Post-Doctoral Plenary Competition at CATAC 2018.
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We are the independent body in the UK representing the diversity of medical science. Our mission is to advance biomedical and health research and its translation into benefits for society. CATAC 2018 was held in the Academy of Medical Sciences 20th year. Read about the Academy’s achievements in its first 20 years at https://acmedsci.ac.uk/ams20
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