Philip J. Cowen

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OBJECTIVE Antidepressants that inhibit the reuptake of serotonin (SSRIs) or norepinephrine (SNRIs) are effective in the treatment of disorders such as depression and anxiety. Cognitive psychological theories emphasize the importance of correcting negative biases of information processing in the nonpharmacological treatment of these disorders, but it is not(More)
The amino-acid L-tryptophan is essential in the synthesis of brain serotonin, and its depletion can lead to a widespread reduction in central serotonergic activity. A placebo-controlled cross-over within-subjects design (n = 12) examined the effects of tryptophan depletion on human cognitive performance. A low-tryptophan (low-TRP) drink successfully reduced(More)
Enhancement of serotonin neurotransmission plays an important role in the antidepressant response to agents presently available to treat depression. This response forms the major evidence for the role of serotonin in affective and social behaviour in humans. The present study investigated the effects of acute administration of the selective serotonin(More)
BACKGROUND The amygdala is believed to play a key role in processing emotionally salient, threat-relevant, events that require further online processing by cortical regions. Emotional disorders such as depression and anxiety have been associated with hyperactivity of the amygdala, but it is unknown whether antidepressant treatment directly affects amygdala(More)
We report the effects of a tyrosine (and phenylalanine)-free amino acid mixture on tyrosine levels, ex vivo catecholamine synthesis and in vivo catecholamine release in brain regions of the rat. Administration of a tyrosine-free amino acid load reduced tissue levels of tyrosine (−50% after 2 h) in all brain regions examined (frontal cortex, hippocampus,(More)
BACKGROUND Pharmacological and postmortem investigations suggest that patients with major depressive disorder have alterations in function or density of brain serotonin1A (5-HT1A) receptors. The aim of the present study was to use positron emission tomography with the selective 5-HT1A receptor antagonist [11C]WAY-100635 to measure 5-HT1A receptor binding in(More)
Rationale. Serotonergic processes have been implicated in the modulation of fear conditioning in humans, postulated to occur at the level of the amygdala. The processing of other fear-relevant cues, such as facial expressions, has also been associated with amygdala function, but an effect of serotonin depletion on these processes has not been assessed.(More)
Rationale. Cognitive impairment is a common feature of depressive illness. While accumulating evidence suggests that brain serotonin (5-HT) pathways play an important role in the neurobiology of depression, the extent to which altered 5-HT function is responsible for the associated changes in cognition and emotion remains unclear. Objective. The present(More)
Acute tryptophan depletion (ATD) induces depressive symptoms in 50-60% of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) treated, recovered depressed patients. However, no reliable predictors of mood response to ATD have been established. In the present study, individual subject data of six ATD studies were pooled ('mega-analysis') in order to investigate(More)
OBJECTIVE Acute administration of an antidepressant increases positive affective processing in healthy volunteers, an effect that may be relevant to the therapeutic actions of these medications. The authors investigated whether this effect is apparent in depressed patients early in treatment, prior to changes in mood and symptoms. METHOD In a(More)