Grant to bolster Smith’s research on late life depression

Grant to bolster Smith’s research on late life depression

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Marianne Smith, assistant professor in the University of Iowa’s College of Nursing, was recently awarded a five-year Research Project Grant from the National Institute of Nursing Research at the National Institutes of Health.

Marianne Smith
Marianne Smith

The grant will provide more than $3 million in funding for Smith’s research project, which is titled “Improving Mood in Assisted Living Using a Cognitive Training Intervention.”

During this study, Smith and her team will take a closer look at late life depression, which affects 24 percent of assisted living (AL) residents and often interacts with other social and health problems to cause a downward disability spiral that is costly to both older individuals and society.

“Depression is a serious problem in late life, but often isn’t recognized by older people or their care providers,” says Smith.

The study will evaluate the effect of a computerized cognitive training intervention on depression symptoms, suspected clinical depression, and depression-related health outcomes among adults in AL settings.

An estimated 300 older adults in 20 or more assisted living facilities in Iowa will be enrolled.

“This computerized program helps overcome all kinds of problems related to identifying and treating late life depression. It’s easy to use, can be done in the assisted living facility whenever it’s convenient, and is fun for most people,” adds Smith.

Smith will serve as the principal investigator. Her team will include co-investigators Fred Wolinsky from the College of Public Health, Janet Specht from the College of Nursing, and Linda Seydel from the Iowa Geriatric Education Center.

“This is an exciting, innovative project that has the potential to really impact treatment of older adults with depression,” says Ann Marie McCarthy, professor and associate dean for research in the College of Nursing. “Marianne has worked for many years helping older adults and this grant is a fantastic opportunity for her to carry out this wonderful research study.”

“If we can prevent serious depression and all the problems that come with it using this reasonably simple program, it will truly be a significant advancement. I am really excited to work with such a great team and our many assisted living partners on such a promising intervention,” says Smith.


Jamie Nicpon, College of Nursing, 319-335-9917


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