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. If you are interested in being contacted about projects that you may be eligible for, please fill out the Dauten Family Center for Bipolar Treatment Innovation Online Recruitment Survey and a staff member with reach out to you by phone or email if you are a good match for one or more of our studies.


MoodNetwork

MoodNetwork was 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. Although MoodNetwork is not an active research project anymore, people can still sign up, participate, and/or find out more information at 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.




Neuroinflammation and Executive Function in Bipolar Disorder: A PET-fMRI Study

In this research study we want to learn more about brain inflammation and brain function in individuals with bipolar disorder. Specifically, we would like to examine the neural basis for executive dysfunction in those with bipolar disorder. We will compare this information to individuals that do not have bipolar disorder. Interested participants will be placed on a waitlist and contacted as quickly as possible.

Time requirements: The study includes 2-3 visits (1-2 screening visits and 1 scanning visit). The screening visits can be completed either remotely, at the MGH Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, or at the MGH Dauten Center. The scanning visit will take place at the MGH Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging. In the year following the scan, the study will involve two brief remote follow-up visits.

Benefit to participants: Although participants will receive no direct benefit from taking part in this study, they will be compensated up to $280.

Restrictions: Participants must be from 25-45 years old and either have bipolar disorder or no psychiatric diagnoses. For more information about eligibility, please call (617) 643-2076.




Estimated 12-Hour Lithium Level Algorithm Study

In this research study we are assessing whether a formula can estimate a standard lithium level 12 hours after the last dose (when the level is taken at times other than 12 hours after the last dose) and accurately predicts the actual lithium level at 12 hours. If this formula can accurately determine a 12-hour lithium level, clinicians could back-calculate an approximate 12-hour serum lithium level based on the self-reported time-lag from the patient – potentially providing a clinically useful tool for assessing serum lithium levels. This study is actively recruiting and looking for interested participants.

Time requirements: It will take participants about 45 minutes to complete the study. During this time, we will ask participants to make 2 study visits within your current treatment at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Inpatient Psychiatric Services (Blake 11).

Benefit to participants: Although participants will receive no direct benefit from taking part in this study, they will be compensated up to $80.

Restrictions: Participants must be patients at Massachusetts General Hospital Inpatient Psychiatric Service and be taking lithium. For more information about eligibility, please call (617) 643-2076.




Minocycline and N-Acetylcysteine for Bipolar Depression 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. This study is actively recruiting and looking for interested participants. To learn more about this research study, please call (617) 643-2076 and mention your interest in the Minocycline and NAC study.

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

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. This study is actively recruiting and looking for interested participants. 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.




The Effects of Nicotinamide Riboside on Energy and Metabolism in Patients with Bipolar Disorder

In this study, we plan to investigate the effects of nicotinamide riboside (NR) supplementation on brain metabolism, function and structure in people with bipolar disorder. NR is a member of the vitamin B3 family which helps to regulate such things as the way cells in the body use energy. NR is not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for any clinical purpose. However, it is being sold and used as a dietary supplement and is being studied in humans for research purposes by multiple research groups. Interested participants will be placed on a waitlist and contacted as quickly as possible. To learn more about this study, call (617) 643-2076.

Time requirements: This study will be completed in approximately 14 days and involves 3 visits (all 3 of which include an fMRI scan). Participants will also be asked to take capsules that contain NR for 7 days.

Payment for participation: Participants are compensated up to $300 for completing the study.

Restrictions: Participants must be between the ages of 18 and 65 and have a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. 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). Interested participants will be placed on a waitlist and contacted as quickly as possible. 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. Interested participants will be placed on a waitlist and contacted as quickly as possible. 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. This study is actively recruiting and looking for interested participants. 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. This study is actively recruiting and looking for interested participants. To learn more about this study, please call (617) 726-7591

Time requirements: This research study involves a screening visit of up to 2 hours, ten prolonged exposure sessions of up to 1.5 hours, and a 6-month follow-up visit of assessments only.

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 Eating (TRE) for Bipolar Disorder

This research study will test whether time restricted eating (TRE), 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. Interested participants will be placed on a waitlist and contacted as quickly as possible.

Participants will be asked to wear an Actiwatch Spectrum Plus (provided) and track what they eat on a mobile app for 14 weeks. For 4 of these weeks, participants will practice TRE. Participants will have bloodwork done 3 times throughout the study and regularly take surveys on their own throughout the study. Participants will receive weekly phone calls during their participation to provide support in making TRE 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 up to $350.

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 with an account on the Lifesum app
  • To learn more, please call (617)-643-6194.




    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. This study is actively recruiting and looking for interested participants. 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 $30 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.