Assistant Professor
Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior

Project title: Understanding Inappropriate Treatment in Critically Ill Patients

Michael Irwin, MD - UCLA
Steve Cole, PhD - UCLA
Naomi Eisenberger - UCLA

Multidisciplinary Expertise:
Psychoneuroimmunology, sleep disturbance, depression, fatigue, aging research, epidemiology

Project Description:
Sleep disturbance and depression in older adults – especially in older women – are major public health burdens because both conditions are highly prevalent and associated with morbidity, functional decline, and mortality. Although the association between these two conditions is well known, the mechanisms of this association are poorly understood. Dr. Cho’s project aims to examine the potential causal contribution of sleep loss to depressive symptoms via inflammatory mechanisms in older women, by means of experimentally induced sleep deprivation and systemic inflammation. Specifically, it is hypothesized that sleep loss is a vulnerability factor for inflammation-induced depressive symptoms in older women, and this hypothesis will be examined by partial sleep deprivation followed by endotoxin challenge. The findings of this study may guide future clinical studies in identifying individuals at risk of developing depression when exposed to heightened inflammatory states such as aging, obesity, and chronic disease and also in developing prevention strategies for late-life depression.