Volunteers Wanted For Depression Research

HomeThe Department of Psychiatry, St. Patrick’s University Hospital, Dublin, is looking for volunteers for a research study investigating differences in memory function between people who have experienced depression at some point in their lives and those who have not. It involves completing some straightforward depression assessments and memory tasks. The aim of this study is to examine individuals’ memory function after an episode of major depression and compare it to people who have never experienced depression.

What does it involve?

Completing some depression questionnaires and memory tasks on a one-off basis. These assessments will investigate the participants’ depression history and their cognitive functioning in areas such as memory, attention, and language. The assessments are straightforward and should take no more than 2 hours to complete.

Am I eligible to take part?

If you have recently recovered from an episode of major depression, have experienced depression at any point in your life, or have no history of depression but are simply interested in the areas of depression and memory, you are eligible to participate in this study.

How do I take part?

All enquiries are treated wholly confidentially, as is any information collected as part of this research. If you would like to volunteer two hours of your time, please contact our research team through our website www.depression-research.ie, by email at volunteer@depression-research.ie, or telephone (01) 2493537.

Set Your Brain to Meditate

Ursula Bates, Billy O'Connor

Ms Ursula Bates, keynote speaker, UL Research Forum and Professor Billy O'Connor

I was delighted to host the  Fourth Annual  University of Limerick Medical School Research Forum last Wednesday, 19 January, where over twenty researchers from the University of Limerick and local teaching hospitals made presentations on topics ranging from pharmaceuticals, biomedical devices, medical technology, community health, gastrointestinal and vascular surgery, psychiatry and communications.

A leading clinical psychologist and Director of Psychosocial and Bereavement Services at Blackrock Hospice, Dublin, Ms Ursula Bates, delivered the keynote address  Mindfulness Based Interventions in Oncology and Palliative Care and Bereavement-Research Advances”.

Ursula’s talk has prompted me to explore in more detail the nature of mindfulness and how its practice can lead to improved brain function and  mental health.

Let’s start by taking a look at the latest scientific research which has shown that  the practice of meditation  actually changes the shape of the brain, allowing specific areas in the brain to grow or change.  This finding has established a new field of contemplative neuroscience – the brain science of meditation – and helps to explain how meditation acts to improve brain function and mental health.

Mindfulness and mindlessness

Have you ever written a cheque in January with the previous years date? …for most of us the answer is probably yes. Scientists now know that these small mistakes are actually the tip of a mindlessness iceberg!  Mindfulness harnesses one of the great themes in all self help literature – the need to be free of unconsciously accepted habits and norms.

Five qualities of a mindful person

  1. Ability to create new categories
  2. Openness to new information
  3. Awareness of more than one perspective
  4. Attention to process (i.e. ‘doing’) rather than outcome or results.
  5. Trusting in one’s own intuition

Over the coming week we will explore these points in more detail and look at ways in which we can learn to break free from the trap of mindlessness.