Warren Taylor, MD, MHSc

Dr. Warren Taylor was one of the 2017 WAM Research Grant recipients. He used his funding to ask: What impact does stress have on women’s memory and on how her brain processes cognitive information? Increased stress may contribute to brain aging and the risk of cognitive decline. It is not clear how the brain’s response to stress may differ by gender, and whether these differences may contribute to the risk of cognitive decline and dementia. Dr. Kimberly Albert and Dr. Warren Taylor at Vanderbilt University Medical Center conducted a study examining differences in the brain’s response to stress in older men and women at increased risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease. Participants underwent a brain MRI including an experimental stress task. Gender differences were observed in the brain’s response to stress, with women showing greater activity in brain areas involved in processing language and men showing greater activity in areas involved in analyzing logical conditions and in encoding visual memories. Moreover, stress exposure resulted in changes in connections in brain networks. After stress, when compared to men, women exhibited reduced connectivity in a brain network involved with memory formation and self-referential thinking. Ongoing work is examining whether these differences are related to changes in longer-term memory performance.


More about Dr. Warren Taylor


Dr. Taylor is the James G. Blakemore Professor of Psychiatry, Director of the Division of Geriatric Psychiatry, and Associate Director of the Center for Cognitive Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.  Dr. Taylor’s research examines neurobiological factors influencing the phenomenology and outcomes of late-life depression using a variety of methods including neuroimaging, ecological, and neurocognitive approaches. This work is often integrated with clinical trials designed to probe the biological substrates of the antidepressant response, examining drug repurposing to treat depression, or longitudinal studies examining longer-term outcomes such as cognitive decline or vulnerability to recurrence. He has elucidated structural and functional neuroimaging findings related to depression outcomes, with a particular focus on the influence of vascular disease.  Current work focuses on how stress may contribute to the development of cognitive decline and depression, neurobiological contributors to recurrence of depression in older adults, and repurposing of drugs to potentially benefit depression and cognitive decline.

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