The Effect of Slow-Wave Disruption on Motivation and Effort in Major Depressive Disorder
Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) affects hundreds of millions of people worldwide. Two under-researched and interrelated symptoms of MDD are diminished motivation and willingness to exert effort. Disturbed sleep is another common symptom, and some individuals with MDD show disturbances in their slow wave activity, which occurs during stage 3 sleep. A few studies have found disrupting slow wave activity to be beneficial in reducing depressive symptoms. Our study looked to replicate this slow-wave disruption process in order to better understand the mechanisms underlying depression and sleep. We hypothesized that after a night of slow-wave disruption (SWD), motivation and effort would improve in participants with MDD.
This study is ongoing; n=14 for the analysis in this poster, but total n=60 at the conclusion of this study. There were no statistically significant findings from the data so far. The most promising trend that was consistent with our hypothesis was towards increased motivation in MDD (p=0.19) after SWD according to data shown in Figure 1. Other trends were conflicting. However, since nothing was statistically significant and our study is still in its early phases of data collection, these patterns should continue to be monitored as the study goes on, in order to conclusively determine the effect of SWD in moderating motivation and effort exertion in MDD. If our hypothesis is rendered correct, this could implicate slow-wave disruption a potential treatment for certain symptoms of Major Depressive Disorder.