IRC-funded Fellow's research featured on RTÉ One show '10 Things to Know About… Pain'

Depression is one of the leading causes of disability, with an estimated 350 million people affected worldwide. By 2020, the World Health Organisation estimates that depression will be the leading cause of disability globally. What, then, is the right way to diagnose and treat depression? Is depression continuous with sadness? Was there an evolutionary function to this disorder? And what are the most ethical, and successful, ways to treat mild, moderate and severe depressive symptoms?

Dr Charlotte Blease, a former Irish Research Council-funded Government of Ireland Postdoctoral Fellow based at University College Dublin, focussed her cross-disciplinary research on current conceptualisations of depression and its ethical treatment using psychological therapies. Her Fellowship ranged across cognitive science, evolutionary psychology, healthcare ethics, placebo studies and psychotherapy research.

During the summer of 2015, Charlotte’s research project came to the attention of RTÉ One’s Science Squad and she was recently featured in ‘10 Things to Know About... Pain’. In the interview, Charlotte described her cutting edge interdisciplinary research on the nature of the placebo effect, and its role in alleviating the symptoms of depression and chronic pain. She stated that healthcare practice and medical education must find ways to ethically harness the potency of the placebo effect within primary care encounters.

Charlotte’s research on the nature of depression, including analysis of an evolutionary function to depressive symptoms, as well as her views on the relationship between science and philosophy, was also the focus of an interview with Jonathan McCrea on Newstalk’s flagship and award-winning science programme Future Proof.