Current Projects

We run a number of research studies and clinical trials aimed at advancing understanding of bipolar disorder and its treatments. Listed below are a selection of our ongoing research projects with helpful information for those interested in participating. To participate in or learn more about these studies and others at at the Dauten Family Center, call (617) 643-2076.


MoodNetwork

MoodNetwork is a new kind of research study focused on collaboration between people who live with mood disorders, researchers, and clinicians. The goal of MoodNetwork is to actively engage people with mood disorders and their friends and family to improve the health and well-being of individuals with mood disorders. MoodNetwork participants can share their ideas and experiences with fellow participants on our online forums and blogs as well as use online tools to track how they are feeling. To sign up and to find out more information, please visit www.moodnetwork.org. If you have questions, please email moodnetwork@partners.org or call (617) 643-2076.

Time requirements: It takes approximately 5 minutes to sign up. Participants can do as little or as much as they like once registered.

Benefit to participants: Participants gain access to tools to monitor their symptoms and well-being, current research studies only available to MoodNetwork participants, and resources. Participants are also able to interact with a community of individuals with mood disorders through forums and blogs.

Restrictions: Participants must be at least 18 years old to join MoodNetwork.




Healthy Mind Healthy You study

The Healthy Mind Healthy You research study investigates how a standard, 8-session, online mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) program will reduce stress and increase well-being compared to a briefer, 3-session mindfulness intervention. Mindfulness involves the skill of paying attention to the present moment. It has its roots in ancient traditions and is believed to increase health, well-being, and quality of life. To learn more about this study, please call (617) 643-2076.

Time requirements: It will take 20 weeks to complete the entire study. No visits occur at MGH. This study is completed online only.

Benefit to participants: Online mindfulness-based treatment provided at no cost.

Restrictions: Participants must be at least 10 years old. For more information about eligibility, please call (617) 643-2076.




Minocycline study

This research study involves adding an FDA approved antibiotic called minocycline, an FDA approved mucolytic agent called n-acetylcysteine, or both to mood stabilizing treatment for bipolar depression. Participants are randomly assigned to one of four groups: active minocycline group, active n-acetylcysteine group, active minocycline and n-acetylcysteine group, or placebo group. There is a 1 in 4 chance of being assigned to each group, and neither participants nor the study doctor can choose the study group. The goal of the research study is to test the effectiveness of widely available and low cost medications to treat bipolar depression. We want to know if this medication, when added to treatment as usual, will improve depressive symptoms and quality of life. To learn more about this research study, please call (617) 643-2076.

Time requirements: This research study involves 5 study visits over 8-weeks at MGH.

Benefit to participants: Participants receive the study medication at no cost, pharmacotherapy monitoring throughout the study at no cost, and compensation up to $300. However, participants may not benefit from taking part in this research study. If participants receive minocycline, it is possible that the participant’s mood symptoms will improve while taking it. If participants receive n-acetylcysteine, it is possible that the participant’s mood symptoms will improve while taking it. Others with bipolar disorder may benefit in the future from what we learn in this study.

Restrictions: Participants must be between the ages of 18 and 65 and taking an FDA approved anti-manic medication. For more information about eligibility for this research study, please call (617) 643-2076.




Neural correlates of rumination and self-procession study

This research study examines brain function associated with thinking about certain phrases and making judgments about oneself by using a technique called functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). fMRI is a technique for making images (pictures) of the brain. It uses magnetic fields and radio waves, and is not harmful. fMRI is a very fast MRI technique that allows the investigators to evaluate changes in blood flow to various areas of the brain. To learn more about this study, call (617) 643-2076.

Time requirements: This study involves a 1 hour screen visit and a 1.5 hour fMRI scanning visit that occur at MGH. These visits are typically between 2 to 4 weeks apart.

Payment for participation: Participants are compensated $100 for completing the study.

Restrictions: Participants must be between the ages of 18 and 64 as well as be right-handed. For more information about eligibility, call (617) 643-2076.




Near-infrared laser study

This research study investigates the use of Transcranial LED Therapy (TLT) to treat bipolar depression. TLT involves a non-invasive and invisible beam of near-infrared light that increases energy metabolism in the brain, and some of this increased brain activity may help people with depression. This treatment is not the same as electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).

To learn more about this study, call (617) 643-2076.

Time requirements: This study involves a 3-hour initial visit, twelve 30-minute visits to MGH and a 3-hour follow-up visit. There is also the potential that you will have two 60 minute functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans. The total duration of the study is 6 weeks.

Payment for participation: You can receive up to $250 compensation for completion of all treatment visits.

Restrictions: Participants must be between 18 and 75 years of age with a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. For more information about eligibility, call (617) 643-2076.




Bezafibrate study

This research study evaluates the effects of adding bezafibrate, an anti-triglyceride drug, to mood stabilizing treatments as part of a management program for bipolar depression. We are examining whether this medication, when added to treatment as usual, will improve depressive symptoms and quality of life for individuals with bipolar disorder.

To learn more about this study, call (617) 643-2076.

Time requirements: This research study involves a screening visit of 1 to 3 hours, a baseline visit of 1-2 hours, four 1 hour visits, and potential for two 60 min MRI scanning visits. The total duration of the study is 10 weeks.

Benefit to participants: There may be no direct benefit from taking part in this research study. You may experience an improvement of bipolar symptoms. No-cost medication treatment and pharmacotherapy monitoring throughout the study duration will be provided. Those who participate in the MRI portion of the study would receive $50 per scan.

Restrictions: Participants must be between the ages of 18 and 65 and already taking medication for the management of bipolar disorder symptoms. For more information about eligibility, call (617) 643-2076.




Xenon inhalation therapy for major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder study

This research study evaluates the effects of xenon for people with Major Depression and Bipolar Depression who have not responded to the usual medications or combination of medications. Xenon is a drug that calms and relaxes the body. It is not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), it can only be used in research studies. This study will compare xenon to placebo (nitrogen). Participants will have two treatment sessions; in one of them we will administer xenon and in one of them we will administer placebo. Participants will not know which one they are administered at the visit. To learn more about this study, please call (617) 643-2076.

Time requirements: This research study involves a screening visit of up to 3 hours, two xenon/nitrogen administration sessions of up to 4.5 hours and six 1.5 hour assessment visits. The total duration of the study is 4-6 weeks.

Benefit to participants: You may or may not benefit from taking part to the study. You may or may not experience a rapid improvement of symptoms that could last from hours to a week. The results of this study may lead to use of new augmentation strategies in treatment resistant depression so that others may benefit in the future from what we learn in this research study.

Restrictions: Participants must be between the ages of 18 and 65, diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder or Bipolar Disorder and have a treating psychiatrist. For more information about eligibility, call (617) 643-2076.




Prolonged exposure for the treatment of bipolar disorder and comorbid PTSD

This research study evaluates the effects of Prolonged Exposure on symptoms in patients with Bipolar Disorder and comorbid PTSD.

Participants will have 10 sessions of Prolonged Exposure therapy over the course of 3 consecutive weeks, which will begin by learning more about these conditions and will build up to repeated imaginal exposures and in vivo homework exercises. We will also contact you six months later for one final assessment.

To learn more about this study, please call (617) 726-7591

Time requirements: This research study involves a screening visit of up to 3 hours, two xenon/nitrogen administration sessions of up to 4.5 hours and six 1.5 hour assessment visits. The total duration of the study is 4-6 weeks.

Benefit to participants: Benefit to participants: There may be no direct benefit to you from taking part in this study. Participants of this study may benefit from the comprehensive diagnostic assessment, and potentially effective treatment provided to them by the skilled therapists.

Restrictions: Participants must be between the ages of 18 and 65, diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and have experienced trauma and have a treating psychiatrist. For more information about eligibility, call (617) 726- 7591.




Piloting Time Restricted Feeding (TRF) for Bipolar Disorder

This research study will test whether time restricted feeding (TRF), or eating only during a 10 hour window (ex: 9am-7pm), can improve sleep, mood, and health for those who are overweight and have bipolar disorder.

Participants will be asked to wear a FitBit (provided) and track what they eat on a mobile app for 18 weeks. For 8 of these weeks, participants will practice TRF. Participants will come to the Dauten Center 3 times during the study to have bloodwork done and take surveys. They will also be asked to complete surveys on their own throughout the study. Participants will receive weekly phone calls during their participation to provide support in making TRF work with their lifestyles.

Benefit: Participants will engage in a lifestyle change that could improve their quality of life and contribute to the treatment of those with bipolar disorder.

Compensation: Participants will receive $50 worth of Amazon gift cards.

Restrictions: To participate, you must:

  • Have a diagnosis of bipolar disorder
  • Be overweight (BMI >25)
  • Be between the ages of 18- 65
  • Own a smartphone
  • To learn more, please call (617)-726-7591.




    Rumination questionnaire study

    Rumination plays a central role in major depression and bipolar disorder; however, all measures of rumination are limited in their ability to measure changes in rumination over time and the impact of treatments on rumination. This research study is a step towards validating and determining the psychometric properties of a state measure of rumination, the MGH Rumination Questionnaire. Participants will complete a standard psychological assessment as well as a series of questionnaires. To learn more about this research study, please call (617) 643-6194 or email mrakhilin@mgh.harvard.edu.

    Time requirements: This research study involves 1 research study visit for the duration of approximately 1 hour.

    Payment to participants: Participants are compensated $20 for completing the study.

    Restrictions: Participants must be between the ages of 18 and 64. They must also have major depressive disorder or bipolar disorder. For more information about eligibility for this research study, please call (617) 643-6194 or email mrakhilin@mgh.harvard.edu.