March 2013

Internet Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Depression

Could online therapy be the ticket to cost-effective, large-scale successful treatment for people who live with depression? Use of online technology among researchers is already connecting research participants to relevant studies, and one such study could shed light on how those technologies might affect treatment itself.

A new study seeks to determine if internet-based cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) treatment can effectively improve symptoms of depression, as well as coping and resilience skills. Researchers at McLean Hospital in Belmont, MA will be studying the differences in brain function between healthy individuals and individuals with depression before and after a 10-week course of online CBT.

Throughout the 10-week course, participants will log in online, complete lessons, and fill out homework tasks, questionnaires, and evaluations. The study staff will contact participants about once a week to check in on their progress and address any questions or concerns.

To determine study eligibility, potential participants will visit McLean Hospital for a clinicial interview. Following acceptance into the study, participants will visit the McLean Imaging Center at McLean Hospital in Belmont, MA before and after the course to answer questionnaires and perform several tasks while an MRI scanner takes pictures of their brain. Researchers will compare brain images from before the 10-week online course of treatment to pictures taken following the treatment. Participants can receive a total compensation of up to $500 for their time.

Find out more about the study and see if you’re eligible to participate.

Remote Roundup

WeSearchTogether connects you to studies you can do from anywhere—no travel required! Check out the latest remote-participation studies:

  • Understanding Factors Involved in Self-Injury Among LGBTQ Individuals
    Researchers want to hear about the individual experiences of LGBTQ individuals, whether or not they involve self-injury, as a way of helping to understand this important health issue among LGBTQ populations. Participants will complete a survey online, and information gathered from the survey will help researchers understand how to best support LGBTQ individuals.
  • Facebook Study
    How does logging on to a social networking site affect your mental health? Researchers want to learn about the relationship between Facebook use, emotions, and behaviors in people with and without depression. Study participants will participate in interviews and surveys, and will give researchers access to their Facebook walls. Participants can receive up to $80 for their time.
  • Feelings in the Family Study
    Researchers want to know how family members get along when a parent experiences depressive feelings. This study is looking for mothers who are experiencing depressive feelings and who have at least one child between the ages of 6 and 12. Participants will answer questionnaires by mail and be interviewed over the phone. They’ll be paid $25 for their time.
  • Romantic Relationships and Bipolar Disorder
    Do romantic partners help you stay well while managing bipolar disorder or do they sometimes get in the way? Whether you’re single, dating, or married, this study invites you to share your relationship stories through an online survey. Your stories will shape tools for fostering supportive romantic relationships for others who are living with bipolar disorder. 

Ketamine Relieves Depression Quickly For Those With Treatment-Resistant Bipolar Disorder

A new study confirms that scientists are on the path to finding swift-acting treatments for those with treatment-resistant bipolar depression. A single intravenous low dose of ketamine appears to reduce symptoms of depression within 40 minutes among those with bipolar disorder who have not responded to other treatments. Read more about the study here.

The latest study findings have a major impact on public health. "Our finding that a single low dose of ketamine produces rapid antidepressant and anti-suicidal effects within one hour is truly exciting," comments Dr. Zarate, lead researcher of a group conducting these studies at the National Institute of Mental Health. "We only have a few treatments approved for acute bipolar depression, and they usually take weeks or longer to work." Now when a person presents as suicidal at the emergency room, one low dosage of ketamine administered by IV can have them safely discharged in a couple of hours compared to the traditional treatment of weeks in the hospital.

Research studies involving ketamine have reinvigorated the field of depression research. It has the potential to help tens of millions of chronically depressed individuals alleviate their symptoms faster than ever before. But ketamine can have some strong psychological side effects and doctors are worried about dependency issues that surfaced from its history as a street drug known as “Special K.” For this reason, scientists believe that the real news about ketamine will be the role it plays in future medications that work immediately and can be safely used long-term.

“This is really about a new generation of drugs for the treatment of depression with a completely different mechanism from the conventional antidepressants,” says Dr. Ronald Duman, Director of Yale’s Division of Molecular Psychiatry. Fortunately the studies to test these new drugs are already underway.

Getting Personal with Bridget

Why participate in research? In this installment, research volunteer Bridget Hempton tells her personal story of experiencing depression and participating in research. Watch the video.

Social Center

What do you think mental health researchers should study next about mood disorders?

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