Faculty: Walter Swardfager, PhD

Walter Swardfager, PhDWalter Swardfager, PhD
Assistant Professor

General Research Area: Determinants of Cognitive Resilience and Vulnerability.

Dr. Swardfager’s research focuses on symptoms of depression and cognitive dysfunction, particularly in later life. On-going studies explore the neuroimmunological intersection between psychiatric and metabolic diseases as an avenue to discover biomarkers, elucidate vulnerability factors and implicate new treatments. Inflammatory mechanisms by which cardiopulmonary fitness and exercise interventions counteract neurodegenerative processes are of particular interest.

Disease areas of focus include depression, Type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and stroke, which often occur together with disastrous consequences. Techniques used include genomics, neuroimaging, serum biomarkers, and neuropsychiatric assessments. The lab also uses public health records to examine the impact of comorbid conditions (e.g. depression and diabetes) on long-term health outcomes in those with chronic diseases.

Current studies include:

  • improving effectiveness of exercise interventions for people with Type 2 diabetes
  • understanding genetic vulnerability to cerebral white matter disease in normal aging and neurodegenerative disorders
  • using metabolic changes in depressive episodes as biomarkers to implicate new avenues for treatment
  • mitigating the impact of diabetes and depression on functional and cognitive recovery from stroke

Selected Publications:

     Hennebelle M, Otoki Y, Yang J, Hammock BD, Levitt AJ, Taha AY, Swardfager W. Altered soluble epoxide hydrolase-derived oxylipins in patients with seasonal major depression: an exploratory study. Psychiatry Res 2017;252:94-101.

  Swardfager W, Yu D, Ramirez J, Cogo-Moreira H, Szilagyi G, Holmes MF, Scott CJM, Scola G, Chan PC, Chen J, Chan P, Sahlas DJ, Herrmann N, Lanctôt KL, Andreazza AC, Pettersen JA, Black SE. Peripheral inflammatory markers indicate microstructural damage within periventricular white matter hyperintensities in Alzheimer’s disease; a preliminary report. Alzheimers Dement (Amst) 2017;7:56-60.

  Carter J, Cogo-Moreira H, Herrmann N, Merino D, Yang P, Shah BR, Kiss A, Reitav J, Oh PI, Swardfager W. Validity of the Center of Epidemiological Studies Depression scale in Type 2 diabetes. J Psychosomatic Res 2016;90:91-97.

   Swardfager W, MacIntosh BJ. Depression, Type 2 diabetes, and post-stroke cognitive impairment. Neurorehabil Neural Repair (Epub, May 29, 2016).

   Swardfager W, Black SE. Coronary artery calcification; a canary in the cognitive coalmine. J Am Coll Cardiol 2016, 67(9):1023-1026.
     Carter J, Swardfager W. Mood and metabolism; anhedonia as a clinical target in Type 2 diabetes. Psychoneuroendocrinology 2016;69:123-132.

    Swardfager W, Yang P, Herrmann N, Lanctôt KL, Shah BR, A Kiss A, Oh PI. Depressive symptoms predict non-completion of a structured exercise intervention for those with type 2 diabetes. Diabetic Med 2016;32(4):529-536.

   Swardfager W, Rosenblat JD, Benlamri M, McIntyre RS. Mapping inflammation onto mood; mediators of anhedonia. Neurosci Biobehav Rev 2016;64:148-166.

    Swardfager W, Herrmann N, Mazereeuw G, Goldberger K, Harimoto T, Lanctôt KL. Zinc in depression; a meta-analysis. Biol Psychiatry 2013;74(12):872-878.

Swardfager W, Black SE. Dementia: A link between microbial infections and cognition? Nat Rev Neurol 2013;9(6):301-302.

Swardfager W, Lanctôt KL, Rothenburg L, Wong A, Cappell J, Herrmann N. Cytokines in Alzheimer’s disease, a meta-analysis. Biol Psychiatry 2010; 68(10):930-941.

  Swardfager W, Herrmann N, Dowlati Y, Oh P, Kiss A, Walker S, Lanctôt KL. Indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase activation and depressive symptoms in patients with coronary artery disease. Psychoneuroendocrinology 2009;34(10):1560-1566.

Read More: The selected publications at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=swardfager


Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology
Faculty of Medicine 
Location: Sunnybrook Research Institute
2075 Bayview Avenue
Toronto, Ontario 
M4N 3M5
Phone: 416-480-6100 ext. 85409
FAX: 416-480-6022
Email: w.swardfager@utoronto.ca

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