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Looking toward the future

Recent research on mood disorders has stimulated hope for significant gains in the fight against these age-old problems. Genetic studies are starting to unravel the complex interaction between our DNA and the environment in producing depression and bipolar disorder. Neuroimaging research has begun to identify the key brain pathways that are involved in these illnesses. Newer medications are being developed and tested. And, other techniques such as cognitive-behavior therapy and interpersonal and social rhythms therapy have been shown to be very helpful in reducing symptoms and lowering the risk for relapse.

Although much progress has been made, much remains to be done. For example, many people with depression go untreated or have large delays in receiving needed therapies, available treatments are often not fully effective in helping people reach a full remission of their symptoms, and recurrences of episodes of depression and bipolar disorder are still much too common.

The University of Louisville Depression Center will be working to improve the treatment of mood disorders through clinical services, education, and research. Our plans for future enhancement of clinical services include programs to use newly developed clinical guidelines to promote evidence based treatment in both psychiatric and primary care practices in this region. We will also be promoting growth of specialty programs for mood disorders including those targeted to children and adolescents, women, men, and the elderly. In all of these efforts, we hope to bring new research findings on the most effective treatments into clinical practice as soon as possible.

In 2009 we plan to launch the Building Hope Public Lecture Series – an educational program designed to help people better understand mood disorders and how to promote recovery from these problems. The Depression Center website will deliver a wide variety of educational materials including video and audio downloads of presentations for both the general public and clinicians. And, a Depression Resource Center that will provide an engaging multimedia library of educational resources for patients and family will open in the main offices of the Depression Center.

One of the top priorities for future growth of the Depression Center is to substantially increase basic and applied research on mood disorders. A major goal is to establish at least two new endowed professorships in research through philanthropic support. The endowed professors and their teams will work with current faculty and their research groups in a concentrated effort to find solutions to depression and bipolar disorder. Another important goal is to establish an endowment to provide “start-up” funding for promising pilot projects that could lead to successful federal or other national grant applications and full development of research programs.

If you would like to learn more about the future plans for growth of the University of Louisville Depression Center or would like to support this effort, please contact us by email. We hope that by working together with the faculty and staff at the University of Louisville, the National Network of Depression Centers, and our friends and supporters we can make great progress in the battle against depression.

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