Dr. Gregory Miller
University of British Columbia
Dr. Gregory Miller is investigating the links between depression, inflammation, and heart disease. People with heart disease who also have depression are four times more likely than non-depressed patients to die from a heart attack. These depressed patients also have higher rates of inflammation of arteries and veins. Inflammation is a major cause of blood vessel disease and plaque blockages that cause heart attacks. But what comes first, depression or inflammation?
Some research seems to show that depression can lead to an unhealthy lifestyle, which can lead to inflammation.
Other research suggests that inflammation can lead to a form of depression. And yet more research suggests there is a feedback loop by which depression and inflammation react with each other to raise cardiac risk factors.
For the next two years, Dr. Miller will be studying 140 healthy young adults at high risk for depression. He anticipates that 50 per cent of the subjects will develop depression, giving him the opportunity to identify the behavioural and biological pathways leading to depression and inflammation. Doctors would then be able to assess which treatment or treatment combination is best for the individual patient.
Dr. Miller is an assistant professor in the department of psychology at the University of British Columbia. He achieved the highest rating in this year’s Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada’s New Investigator Award competition.