April 22, 2020
Eric D. Achtyes, MD, MS, a psychiatrist at Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services and director of the Division of Psychiatry & Behavioral Medicine for the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, was scheduled to present at this year’s American Psychiatric Association Annual Meeting on finding depression biomarkers.
In this Q&A: Potential Biomarkers of Postpartum Depression, Dr. Achtyes discusses possible biomarkers of postpartum depression, a study he and colleagues conducted on the topic, and future research in the area.
“Our current constructs for understanding the pathophysiology of depression are incomplete, based on clusters of symptoms reported by patients over a distinct period of time. We need to gain a better understanding of the biological mechanisms underlying depressive illnesses. Because when someone is ill with an infection or another inflammatory condition, they display many of the same symptoms of depression (fatigue, altered sleep, low mood), we and others have hypothesized that some episodes of depression may have an underlying inflammatory cause. If shown to be true, then in cases of “inflammatory depression,” it may be possible that certain biomarkers of inflammation could be tracked over time, to show improvement with treatment or worsening if treatment isn’t effective (analogous to tracking HbA1c in a person with diabetes, for example). They may even be used to predict a future episode of depression.”
Eric D. Achtyes, MD, MS, graduated from the University of Michigan Medical School in 2003 and completed his adult psychiatry residency training at the Massachusetts General Hospital/McLean hospital program in 2007. He is an Associate Professor and directs the Division of Psychiatry & Behavioral Medicine for the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine. He is also the Behavioral Health Medical Director for Network180, which provides the public mental health safety net for more than 640,000 people living in Kent County, Michigan. He has been an investigator on more than 40 clinical studies in schizophrenia and depression, including federally funded research and implementation projects from NIA, NIAAA, NICHD, NIDA, NIMH, CMS and SAMHSA. He treats patients at Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services and Cherry Health, both in Grand Rapids, Michigan.