Current Studies

The Pediatric Mood and Anxiety Disorders Program’s current research studies include the following investigations.

Actively Recruiting

The Neuroimmunology of Anhedonia examines the neurobiology of anhedonia—the reduced capacity to experience pleasure—in adolescents with major depressive disorder (MDD) and healthy controls, utilizing immunological and neurochemical investigative approaches. The study involves a brief phone screening for eligibility, as well as two study visits: 1) Includes a baseline diagnostic evaluation; 2) Involves a blood draw and magnetic resonance spectroscopy brain scan. We are recruiting both healthy and depressed adolescents between the ages of 12 and 18 who are psychotropic medication-free. This study is sponsored by the National Institute of Mental Health.

Neuroinflammation and Positive Valence System (PVS) Deficits in Adolescents examines the neuroimmunology of specific reward processes in adolescents, using immunological, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) approaches. Specifically, we focus on Reward Expectancy versus Initial Responsiveness to Reward Attainment, reflecting reward anticipation and receipt. The study involves a brief phone screening for eligibility, as well as two study visits: 1) Includes a baseline diagnostic evaluation; 2) Involves a blood draw before and after a social stress test, as well as a brain scan including fMRI and MRS. We are recruiting both healthy adolescents as well as adolescents displaying any psychiatric symptoms, ages 12 to 18, who are psychotropic-medication free. This study is sponsored by the National Institute of Mental Health.

Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid and Glutathione in Tourette’s Disorder (TD): An MR Spectroscopy Study examines brain GABA levels—the major inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain—in adolescents with Tourette’s Disorder (TD), and its corresponding relationship to symptom severity. Subjects will participate in a Proton Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy Scan (1H MRS), a non-invasive brain imaging technique that does not use radiation or lead to adverse events in adolescents. We are recruiting both healthy adolescents as well as adolescents ages 12 to 17 with a DSM-IV-TR diagnosis of TD at Icahn School of Medicine and the Nathan Kline Institute of Psychiatric Research.

Ongoing Studies

Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Adolescents with Depression investigates the efficacy of Omega-3FA (fish oil) as compared to placebo in the treatment of depressive symptoms in youth ages 12-19. Omega-3FA have anti-inflammatory properties and are known to affect monoamines in the brain, both of which have been implicated in mood disorders. Studies in adults have suggested efficacy both in major depression and bipolar disorder. Dr. Gabbay’s study is the only one that examines efficacy in pediatric populations. Though no longer recruiting, 40 adolescents have been enrolled and there have been no adverse effects. Omega-3FA are well known to be safe supplements for pediatric populations. Pre- and post-treatment Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (MRS) imaging scans will be administered to assess subsequent changes in neurochemistry. Our capsules are manufactured specifically for the purpose of our study and undergo assessments by an independent lab confirming their quality and purity. Previously funded by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM).

For more information regarding our studies or participating in a study, please contact clinical research coordinator Julia Case (212-659-1674; julia.case@mssm.edu.)

Contact Us

Clinical Division and General Info
Tel: 212-659-1660
E-mail: amira.hanna@mssm.edu

Research Division
Tel: 212-659-1674
E-mail: julia.case@mssm.edu