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The effects of short-term lithium administration on emotional and cognitive processing in healthy volunteers

We are currently collecting data from the final participants for a study investigating the effects of 11 days lithium administration on cognitive performance and the way that we process emotional information. 40 healthy volunteers took part, receiving either 11 days dose of lithium or placebo.

The mood stabilising treatment, lithium, reduces levels of inositol in the brain which is thought to modulate serotonin activity. Using magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) we measure levels of brain inositol, and with functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) we investigate the participants' neural responses to emotional and non-emotional tasks. In conjunction with behavioural data investigating emotional and reward processing, we hope to understand more about the way emotions work in the brain and how this is modulated by drug treatment. This information may enable us to establish a model to further detect the possible effects of new drugs on mood.