Digital Public Defence: Torfinn Lødøen Gaarden Torfinn Lødøen Gaarden at Institute of Clinical Medicine will be defending the thesis “Depression and inflammation in older adults” for the degree of PhD (Philosophiae Doctor).

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The public defence will be held as a video conference over Zoom.

The defence will follow regular procedure as far as possible, hence it will be open to the public and the audience can ask ex auditorio questions when invited to do so.

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Due to copyright reasons, an electronic copy of the thesis must be ordered from the faculty. In order for the faculty to have time to process the order, it must be received by the faculty no later than 2 days prior to the public defence. Orders received later than 2 days before the defence will not be processed. Inquiries regarding the thesis after the public defence must be addressed to the candidate.

Digital Trial Lecture – time and place

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Adjudication committee

  • First opponent: Associate Professor Ole Kristian Grønli, UiT - The Arctic University of Norway
  • Second opponent: Professor Dag Aarsland, King’s College London, UK
  • Third member and chair of the evaluation committee: Professor II Turid Birgitte Boye, University of Oslo

Chair of the Defence

Professor Emeritus Stein E. Opjordsmoen Ilner, University of Oslo

Principal Supervisor

Associate Professor Albert Gyllencreutz Castellheim, University of Gothenburg, Sweden


Objectives: The prevalence of major depression among older adults is reported to be 5%. Up to one half of the depressed older adults do not achieve remission despite extensive treatment. Inflammation is reported to be associated with depression in older adults and with treatment-resistant depression in younger adults. We hypothesised that there may be a substantial association between depression and inflammation in older persons with treatment resistant unipolar major depression (UMD). We aimed to explore the association between depression and inflammation in hospitalised older patients with an episode of treatment resistant UMD and compare their inflammation profile with non-depressed community living older persons.

Methods: Sixty-four hospitalised persons, mean age 75 years, with treatment resistant UMD and 18 non-depressed persons, mean age 78 years, were included in the study. We measured 27 immune markers in peripheral blood plasma using multiplex technology, and assessed the depression symptom score by the use of the Hamilton Rating Scale of Depression. All variables were assessed at pre-treatment, mid-treatment, post-treatment and 12 weeks follow-up in the depressed participants and at baseline and eight weeks follow-up in the non-depressed participants.

Results: The depressed participants had higher concentrations of pro-inflammatory immune markers at pre-treatment, post-treatment and 12 weeks follow-up compared to the non-depressed participants. Additionally, we found no association between depressive symptom scores and immune marker concentrations among the depressed participants. Our results may have been affected by multiple testing and the sample size which may lack power to prove the significance of small effect sizes of the immune markers.

Conclusion: Older persons with treatment resistant UMD may have a pro-inflammatory condition during the depressive episode and at remission, opening the possibility of future immunomodulating therapies.

Additional information

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Published Feb. 18, 2022 10:55 AM - Last modified Mar. 4, 2022 10:57 AM