Bio

Clinical Focus


  • Psychiatry

Academic Appointments


Professional Education


  • Residency:Cambridge Hosp/Harvard Med Sch (1991) MA
  • Fellowship:Stanford University School of Medicine (1995) CA
  • Residency:Stanford University School of Medicine (1994) CA
  • Board Certification: Psychiatry, American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (2000)
  • Internship:Boston University Medical Center/Framington (1990) MA
  • Medical Education:Bowman Gray School of Medicine (1987) NC

Publications

Journal Articles


  • Insulin resistance and hippocampal volume in women at risk for Alzheimer's disease NEUROBIOLOGY OF AGING Rasgon, N. L., Kenna, H. A., Wroolie, T. E., Kelley, R., Silverman, D., Brooks, J., Williams, K. E., Powers, B. N., Hallmayer, J., Reiss, A. 2011; 32 (11): 1942-1948

    Abstract

    Insulin resistance (IR) is the main pathological condition underlying vascular disorders, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, which are well established risk factors for cognitive decline and Alzheimer disease (AD). Hippocampal atrophy has been associated with cognitive decline, but little is known about the influence of IR on hippocampus integrity in non-diabetic, cognitively intact individuals. Herein, 50 women ages 50-65, current users of hormone therapy, underwent magnetic resonance imaging, cognitive testing, and homeostatic assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR), as part of a longitudinal study examining brain structure and function in postmenopausal women at risk for AD. Results demonstrated a significant negative relationship between HOMA-IR and right and total hippocampal volume, overall cognitive performance, and selective tests of verbal and non-verbal memory. The main effect of HOMA-IR on brain structure and cognition was not altered by the presence of APOE-?4 allele or by reproductive history, such as duration of endogenous and exogenous estrogen exposure. These results suggest that IR in middle-aged individuals at risk for AD may be biomarker for dementia risk.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2009.12.005

    View details for Web of Science ID 000295220700003

    View details for PubMedID 20031276

  • Differences in Verbal Memory Performance in Postmenopausal Women Receiving Hormone Therapy: 17 beta-Estradiol Versus Conjugated Equine Estrogens AMERICAN JOURNAL OF GERIATRIC PSYCHIATRY Wroolie, T. E., Kenna, H. A., Williams, K. E., Powers, B. N., Holcomb, M., Khaylis, A., Rasgon, N. L. 2011; 19 (9): 792-802

    Abstract

    Much controversy exists and many questions remain unanswered about the effects of hormone therapy (HT) on cognition in postmenopausal women. There is growing evidence suggesting that HT compounds containing conjugated equine estrogen (CEE) have negative effects on cognition whereas 17?-estradiol (17?-E) either has positive or neutral effects. The present study sought to further examine this issue in a sample of postmenopausal women with risk factors for Alzheimer's disease (AD).Cross-sectional neuropsychological evaluation.Academic research clinic.68 healthy postmenopausal women (aged 49-68) receiving either 17?-E or CEE for at least one year with increased risk for AD.Neuropsychological test battery of the cognitive domains of attention/working memory/processing speed, verbal memory, visual memory, and executive functioning.Multivariate analyses of variance (MANOVA) showed significantly better verbal memory performance in women receiving 17?-E compared to women receiving CEE regardless of age, IQ, years of education, risk factors for AD (including APOE-?4 carriership), duration of endogenous and exogenous estrogen exposure, concurrent progesterone use, or natural versus surgical menopause status.Verbal memory performance was better in postmenopausal women receiving 17?-E compared to CEE in a sample population of women with risk factors for AD. Genetic risk for AD as well as other confounds did not affect this finding. The results suggest a differential effect of HT type on verbal memory, with 17?-E being a preferential compound. Further evaluation of HT types, regimens and duration of use on cognitive performance in postmenopausal women in a controlled longitudinal design is warranted.

    View details for DOI 10.1097/JGP.0b013e3181ff678a

    View details for Web of Science ID 000294415800006

    View details for PubMedID 21873835

  • Mood disorders in oocyte donor candidates: brief report and implications for future research HUMAN REPRODUCTION Williams, K. E., Stemmle, P. G., Westphal, L. M., Rasgon, N. L. 2011; 26 (4): 847-852

    Abstract

    BACKGROUND IVF, using donor oocytes, has become increasingly common. The donation procedure carries psychiatric risks, including depression, anxiety and rarely, psychosis, and this risk increases when there is a past history of psychiatric illness. We report on the psychiatric status, at intake assessment, of a group of candidate oocyte donors. METHODS The authors reviewed clinical records of 63 women continuously presenting to a University medical center for psychiatric evaluation as part of the screening process for oocyte donation. A board certified psychiatrist administered a structured clinical interview to candidate donors, and self-report measures were obtained from 28 women. RESULTS There was a significant discrepancy between psychiatric history of depression and current mood status, as measured by both clinical interview and psychometric self-report data. Nearly one-quarter of candidate donors (22%) reported a history of major depressive disorder; however, all candidate donors denied current mood disturbance on clinical interview, and mean Beck depression inventory and profile of mood states scores were lower than expected compared with psychometric norms (P < 0.0005), epidemiological data and the recurrent nature of depressive disorders. CONCLUSIONS Candidate donors may minimize psychiatric symptoms. Given the potential for ovarian stimulation protocols to induce or exacerbate mood symptoms, and the moderate heritability of mood disorders, careful evaluation of candidate donor affective disorder history is recommended. This evaluation should focus on sensitivity to mood destabilization during times of hormonal change. Measures that examine whether a candidate donor may have a tendency to present herself in an overly favorable manner, and/or a tendency to minimize symptoms, are recommended.

    View details for DOI 10.1093/humrep/deq394

    View details for Web of Science ID 000288552200015

    View details for PubMedID 21242150

  • Rosiglitazone Add-On in Treatment of Depressed Patients with Insulin Resistance: a Pilot Study THESCIENTIFICWORLDJOURNAL Rasgon, N. L., Kenna, H. A., Williams, K. E., Powers, B., Wroolie, T., Schatzberg, A. F. 2010; 10: 321-328

    Abstract

    A number of cross-sectional studies have suggested an association between insulin resistance (IR) and affective disorders. However, limited data exist on potential changes in IR in a prospective treatment of depression. The present pilot study tested the hypothesis that improvement of IR with the addition of an insulin-sensitizing agent would improve mood in nondiabetic patients with unipolar or bipolar depression, who had surrogate blood markers suggestive of IR. Surrogate IR-criteria blood markers were fasting plasma glucose >100 mg/dl or triglyceride (TG) to high density lipoprotein (HDL) ratio >3.0. Open-label rosiglitazone, titrated to a dose of 8 mg/day, was administered for 12 weeks to 12 patients with depressive disorder receiving treatment as usual (TAU). Eight patients who completed the 12-week study exhibited significant declines in both depression severity by the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale and the Clinical Global Impression scale, with moderate effect sizes noted. Modest improvement in Matsuda Index scores was also noted at 12 weeks, yet declines in depression severity scores were not associated with improvements in the endocrine markers (Matsuda Index, TG/HDL ratio, and body mass index). These results suggest the potential novel use for an insulin-sensitizing agent in the treatment of depressive disorders. Larger placebo-controlled studies are warranted.

    View details for DOI 10.1100/tsw.2010.32

    View details for Web of Science ID 000274935000007

    View details for PubMedID 20191245

  • Cognitive effects of memantine in postmenopausal women at risk of dementia: a pilot study ACTA NEUROLOGICA SCANDINAVICA Wroolie, T. E., Kenna, H. A., Williams, K. E., Powers, B. N., Holcomb, M., Lazzeroni, L., Rasgon, N. L. 2009; 119 (3): 172-179

    Abstract

    To determine the effects of memantine on cognition in a normal population of postmenopausal women with putative risk factors for Alzheimer's disease (AD) using a built-in control for the genetic risk factor for AD (apoE-epsilon4 status).A prospective, open-label, 6-month pilot medication trial with memantine and follow-up after discontinuance conducted at the Center for Neuroscience in Women's Health, Stanford University School of Medicine. Neuropsychological data were collected on 22 community-dwelling postmenopausal women (11 apoE-epsilon4 carriers and 11 apoE-epsilon4 non-carriers) with at least one putative risk factor for AD.ApoE-epsilon4 status was not a significant predictor of change in neuropsychological performance. Changes associated with memantine treatment for entire sample included significant declines in some variables associated with verbal learning and memory that improved upon medication withdrawal. A positive medication effect was noted with executive functions and possibly category fluency. Trend-level improvements were seen in motor dexterity of the non-dominant hand and maintained even after drug discontinuance.Treatment with memantine appeared to have differential effects on cognitive performance in a population of women with putative risk factors for AD. ApoE-epsilon4 carrier status did not account for observed changes in cognition.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/j.1600-0404.2008.01084.x

    View details for Web of Science ID 000262949100005

    View details for PubMedID 18705678

  • Mood disorders and fertility in women: a critical review of the literature and implications for future research HUMAN REPRODUCTION UPDATE Williams, K. E., Marsh, W. K., Rasgon, N. L. 2007; 13 (6): 607-616

    Abstract

    A medline literature review of fertility and mood disorder articles published since 1980 was performed in order to critically review the literature regarding a relationship between mood disorders, fertility and infertility treatment. Previous studies suggests that mood disorders, both in the bipolar and unipolar spectrum, may be associated with decreased fertility rates. Most studies report that women seeking treatment for infertility have an increased rate of depressive symptoms and possibly major depression (none showed evaluated mood elevations). Many, but not all, studies found that depressive symptoms may decrease the success rate of fertility treatment. Treatments for infertility may independently influence mood through their effects on estrogen and progesterone, which have been shown to influence mood through their actions on serotonin. Studies are limited in scope and confounding variables are many, limiting the strength of the results. In conclusion, a range of existing studies suggests that fertility and mood disorders are related in a complex way. Future studies should use clinical interviews and standardized and validated measures to confirm the diagnosis of mood disorders and control for the variables of medication treatment, desire for children, frequency of sexual intercourse, age, FSH levels, menstrual cycle regularity in assessing an interrelationship between mood disorders and fertility.

    View details for DOI 10.1093/humupd/dmm019

    View details for Web of Science ID 000250679900009

    View details for PubMedID 17895237

  • Mood and neuropsychological changes in women with midlife depression treated with escitalopram JOURNAL OF CLINICAL PSYCHOPHARMACOLOGY Wroolie, T. E., Williams, K. E., Keller, J., Zappert, L. N., Shelton, S. D., Kenna, H. A., Reynolds, M. F., Rasgon, N. L. 2006; 26 (4): 361-366

    Abstract

    This study assessed mood and neuropsychological function in a population of middle-aged women with major depressive disorder treated with escitalopram.Psychometric data measuring severity of depression were collected from 19 women and neuropsychological data were collected from 17 women aged between 45 and 65 years with a Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, diagnosis of major depression in a study in the Behavioral Neuroendocrinology Program at the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine. All women were treated with escitalopram in an open-label design. Mean age was 55.94 years and mean number of years of education was 16.36 years. Diagnosis of major depressive disorder was assessed with the Structured Clinical Interview for the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, and mood was evaluated with the 21-item Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAM-D) at baseline and at weekly follow-ups for 12 weeks. Cognition was assessed at baseline and 3 months after treatment using a neuropsychological test battery, which included an abbreviated measure of Full Scale Intelligence Quotient, measures of attention and processing speed, verbal and nonverbal memory, executive functioning, and verbal fluency. Self-report data were collected on current menopause status and current hormone therapy use in the postmenopausal women. Paired sample t tests were used to analyze the change in total HAM-D scores and neuropsychological variables.Statistically significant improvements were found in total HAM-D score, Wechsler Memory Scale III Logical Memory 1st Recall, I, and II scores, Wechsler Memory Scale III Visual Reproduction I scores, and Trail Making Test Part B scores. There was a statistically significant decrease in Controlled Oral Word Association Test FAS scores.Treatment of depression with escitalopram in a population of middle-aged women was shown to improve mood and cognitive efficiency in complex attention, short- and long-term recall of contextual information, short-term recall of visual information, and cognitive flexibility; however, it was shown to worsen phonemic fluency.

    View details for DOI 10.1097/01.jcp.0000227699.26375.f8

    View details for Web of Science ID 000239551200003

    View details for PubMedID 16855452

  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder in pregnancy, the puerperium, and the premenstruum JOURNAL OF CLINICAL PSYCHIATRY Williams, K. E., Koran, L. M. 1997; 58 (7): 330-334

    Abstract

    Recent reports suggest that pregnancy and the puerperium may precipitate or exacerbate obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). The influence of this illness on other reproductive events, such as the premenstruum, is unknown. We examined retrospectively the relationships of pregnancy, the puerperium, and premenstruum to the course of OCD in 57 women.Women outpatients with OCD meeting DSM-III-R criteria completed a standardized telephone interview administered by a psychiatric resident. They were asked retrospectively about the clinical course of their illness premenstrually and during and after pregnancy.Of 72 women eligible for the study, 79% (N = 57) completed the interview. Premenstrual worsening of OCD was described by 24 (42%) of the 57 women, and 12 (21%) described premenstrual dysphoria. Of the 57 women, 38 (67%) had been pregnant at least once; 31 (54%) had delivered at least one child. Pregnancy was associated with the onset of OCD in only 5 (13%) of the 38 women. Of the 29 women with preexisting OCD who became pregnant, 20 (69%) described no change in symptoms during pregnancy, 5 (17%) described worsening, and 4 (14%) described improvement. Postpartum exacerbation of OCD symptoms was reported by 7 (29%) of the 24 women with preexisting OCD who completed full-term pregnancies. Nine (37%) of the 24 women with both preexisting OCD and completed pregnancies also reported postpartum depression.The premenstrual and postpartum exacerbation of OCD symptoms in some women suggests that the course of this disorder may, in some cases, be influenced by changes in gonadal hormones. Our finding that women with OCD may be at increased risk for postpartum depression underscores the importance of careful postpartum evaluation of women with OCD to prevent maternal and infant morbidity.

    View details for Web of Science ID A1997XQ03400016

    View details for PubMedID 9269260

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