Since their first use about 70 years ago, reports of psychiatric symptoms and cognitive changes with prescription corticosteroids, such as prednisone, have appeared in the literature. However, the frequency of brain effects with corticosteroids may still be underappreciated and little is known about the mechanisms responsible for the brain effects of these medications. Briefly introduced and moderated by Dr. Brown, this session will address the effects of corticosteroids on the human brain. An overview of the field, as well as new research findings will be discussed. Three of the presentations will discuss potential biomarkers for the effects of corticosteroids on the brain. In addition, the first study characterizing the risk of psychiatric illnesses with megestrol, a corticosteroids and progestogenic activity that is used as an appetite stimulant, will e presented.
Dr. Brown, from UT Southwestern, will briefly introduce the topic and review the evidence for brain effects and psychiatric symptoms with corticosteroids. Dr. Lee, from Johns Hopkins, will present an overview of his work and recent findings on the impact of chronic corticosteroid exposure on DNA and gene function in the brain. Dr. Shinozaki, from the University of Iowa, will then discuss his research studying genome-wide DNA methylation differences by comparing human buccal samples before and after high dose steroid exposure used in clinical settings. epigenetics including data he collected from a whole genome analysis. Dr. Sudheimer, from Stanford, will present functional neuroimaging findings following corticosteroid administration that may provide clues to the brain regions involved in mood changes with these medications. Ms. Ramamurthy, MS 3 from UT Southwestern, will present very recent data from a large database analysis on the risk of psychiatric diagnoses following megestrol administration. The presentations will all be informal and highly interactive. They will be followed by commentary, discussion, question and answer session and audience feedback led by Dr. Brown.