Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

Center for Neuromodulation in Depression and Stress (CNDS)

Stress and Inflammation

Principal Investigator: Yvette Sheline, MD (NIH funded)

The goal of this study is to understand the effects of inflammation on the aging brain. We want to learn if depression over a person’s lifetime is related to the amount of inflammation in the brain and whether the amount of inflammation in the brain affects treatment response. We also want to determine whether taking an antidepressant affects the level of inflammatory proteins in the body. Results from this study may help us find better ways to prevent late-life depression (LLD).

The specific aims of this study are to:

  • Characterize neuroanatomical and neuropsychological effects of abnormal levels of inflammatory proteins in LLD
  • Characterize the reversibility of brain dysfunction, including cognitive impairment with treatment of LLD and its association with inflammation


Who we are looking for:

  • English speaking adults, ages 50-80 with no history of neurological injury or disease
  • People with or without depression

What you will do:

  • Office visits over approximately 2 months, including cognitive testing, 2 spinal taps, 1-3 blood draws, and 2 MRIs (magnetic resonance imagining scans)
  • Take an antidepressant coupled with anti-inflammatory medication for 6 weeks and be assessed for biological changes (for participants with depression only)
  • Receive compensation.

If you are interested in participating, you may complete this online screening form:

Or if you would like more information or would like to complete the screening over the phone, contact the CNDS: