The Marató 2021 dedicated to mental health finances two projects in which IRBLleida collaborates
The project 'Deciphering the clinical, neurobiological and genetic correlates of first episodes of mania in bipolar disorder: Project NOTION' will study initial episodes in patients with bipolar disorder
Two projects with the participation of the Institute for Research in Biomedicine of Lleida (IRBLleida) have been funded by the last Marató 2021 dedicated to mental health. These are a project to study initial episodes in patients with bipolar disorder and a trial to address persistent symptoms in patients who have suffered from depression. Over the next few years, the 81 research teams that will carry out the 36 winning projects will transform the grants into responses that offer a comprehensive approach to mental health to improve the quality of life and life expectancy of patients and their families.
The project 'Deciphering the clinical, neurobiological and genetic correlates of first manic episodes in bipolar disorder: NOTION project' is led by the Augusto Pi y Sunyer Biomedical Research Institute Consortium - IDIBAPS Hospital Clínic i Provincial de Barcelona and has the collaboration of the Vall de Hebron University Hospital Foundation - Research Institute (VHIR), the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences - University of Barcelona and, on behalf of IRBLleida, the researcher in charge of the Biological Foundations of Mental Disorders group, Maria Mur Laín, who is also a professional in the Psychiatry Service of the University Hospital of Santa Maria de Lleida and the University of Lleida. The project is funded with €399,699.25. This project will study initial episodes of patients with bipolar disorder.
Bipolar disorder is a severe mental illness characterised by pronounced mood swings, including depressive and euphoric phases, which make it difficult to function in society. The disorder is associated with persistent cognitive deficits such as difficulties with memory or concentration, high mortality rates and reduced quality of life. In fact, it is considered the 17th leading cause of disability worldwide. For this reason, understanding the course of bipolar disorder from the onset of the illness, i.e. from the first episode, is crucial because it can generate knowledge that can help minimise the impact of the illness.
"Once all the data is collected, analyses will be carried out to help us identify those at risk of new decompensations, different trajectories of the illness and to create individualised treatment plans based on the specific needs of each patient," explained the researcher, Maria Mur. "All this information will allow us to improve the quality of life of people suffering from this disorder and reduce the impact on the family, social and health levels," she added.
The other funded project is the phase III clinical trial to study the efficacy and safety of the Integral Cognitive Remediation (INCREM) programme in patients with depression, which has received funding of 370,243.29 €. In this case, the trial is led by the Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau Research Institute Foundation and has the collaboration of the Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute Foundation (IMIM), Vall de Hebron University Hospital Foundation - Research Institute (VHIR) and the clinical psychologist of the Psychiatry Service of the University Hospital of Santa Maria de Lleida and researcher, Gemma Vall Boada, of the Biological Foundations of Mental Disorders group at IRBLleida. The project, which also involves the collaboration of a resident doctor and two resident psychologists, consists of a psychological approach to the persistent symptoms of patients who have suffered from depression.
Depression is a very prevalent mental illness among the population with devastating consequences in the life of the sufferer and their environment. It is accompanied by cognitive symptoms, which are very frequent but little known, affecting memory, concentration and the ability to organise and solve problems.
The research team of this proposal designed a comprehensive rehabilitation programme of cognition and daily functioning for depression, taking into account the specific cognitive symptoms and the real difficulties encountered by patients. Thus INCREM (INtegral Cognitive REMediation for depression) was born, which includes cognitive training and group therapy sessions focused on the rehabilitation of daily functioning.
"The aim of this proposal is to demonstrate the efficacy and benefits of INCREM for depression in a larger and more varied sample of patients, and also to study its effects on the brain," explained researcher Gemma Vall. "The ultimate goal is to implement this type of therapy in mental health care centres to treat the cognitive symptoms of patients and achieve a return in their personal, work and social life," said the researcher.
The resources that the Fundació La Marató de TV3 makes available to the 81 award-winning research teams over the next few years will be essential to find answers and offer a comprehensive approach to mental health. In this 2021 edition, 150 projects were presented. The Catalan Agency for Health Quality and Evaluation, part of the Catalan Ministry of Health, coordinated an international evaluation process in which 111 experts in mental disorders from all over the world assessed the projects on the basis of their quality and methodology, scientific, health and social relevance, and their innovative and transformative value, among other aspects.
The researchers Maria Mur Laín and Gemma Vall Boada