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Dr Olivia Dean has won the Australian Society for Bipolar and Depression Society/Servier Depression Research Grant 2012.
Dr Dean, a a Deakin Medical School researcher based at Barwon Health in Geelong, was announced as the winner at the ABSD conference in Sydney in October.
The grant is worth $30,000 plus an economy class airfare to the next ABSD conference.
The object of the grant is:
To provide salary support for an investigator studying (or proposing to study) any aspect of depression within Australia;
To stimulate collaborative research activities within Australasia by facilitating communication between participants in specified fields;
To support such a researcher in this area for up to one year.
Dr Dean recently discovered that an antioxidant, N-acetylcysteine (NAC), is an effective treatment for bipolar depression.
Following the positive results experienced by 149 people with bipolar depression who took part in a two month trial, the researchers believe that NAC could be added to the treatment regimen of people with bipolar disorder.
“The people in our trial experienced significantly lower levels of depression and reported higher levels of quality of life and general functioning,” she said.
“There is currently no truly effective treatment for the depressive symptoms of bipolar disorder, with standard antidepressant medications having limited impact. Given the people in our trial had such positive results, and there are no major side-effects with NAC, it is a very promising option to be included with regular treatments. Larger trials are now needed to further test the benefits of NAC for people with bipolar depression.”