Clinical trial of an investigational medication for cognitive impairment due to depression | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Clinical trial of an investigational medication for cognitive impairment due to depression

23 Mar 2023

The University of the Sunshine Coast is collaborating with an Australian biotechnology company to begin trials assessing a novel therapy for neurological diseases associated with dysregulated brain cortisol.

The trial will investigate whether the study treatment can improve cognitive function such as memory, attention, decision-making and language in people with diagnosed depression.

The trial will be led by Dr Robert Scott at the UniSC Clinical Trials clinic at Sippy Downs on the Sunshine Coast.

“Major depressive disorder, or depression, is one of the most common mental illnesses,” Dr Scott said. “According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, it affects about 10 percent of people in Australia.

“People with depression often have high levels of cortisol and it’s thought that this could be linked to the severity of depression and whether cognitive symptoms are present. The study treatment was created to normalise the making of cortisol by the brain.

“We will be examining whether this novel therapy has an impact on the cognitive symptoms that happen with depression through thinking and memory tests, a psychiatric interview and other procedures throughout the course of the trial.”

Lead Clinical Trials Coordinator Catherine Bell said UniSC was now looking for people aged between 18 and 70 years who had been diagnosed with depression, were on a stable dose of an antidepressant, and were experiencing symptoms like difficulty with memory, paying attention and making decisions.

“Participants will be required to attend up to seven visits at the Sippy Downs clinic over approximately 14 weeks,” she said. “They will take one capsule of the medication every day for six weeks.“

Eligible participants will be reimbursed for their time and travel.

Those interested in participating can find more information at

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