Ranjana Mehta, Ph.D., assistant professor at the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Public Health, has been awarded a grant from the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health. The grants fund promising and innovative mental health research, and Mehta’s project will study the impact of major depression on precision motor control and associated functional changes in the frontal brain regions.

According to the World Health Organization, depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide and depressive disorders rank among the most common health problems of the U.S. workforce. Depressive symptoms such as sadness, stress, disturbed sleep and fatigue can significantly impact physical capabilities, particularly when workers perform critical or complex occupational tasks involving intensified workload and precision demands.

“Since depression is a critical concern to workplace health and safety, the project will use a novel approach to understand brain-behavior relationships during precision motor action in adults with major depression,” Mehta said. “Outcomes obtained are expected to contribute to a broader understanding of how common daily and/or workplace stressors can influence physical competencies in depressed adults.”

Mehta is among 10 tenure-track assistant professors at eight Texas universities to receive the 2015 Mental Health Research Grants. In addition to research, the grants fund the dissemination of research findings through presentations at state and national conferences and meetings.

— Rae Lynn Mitchell

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