Current Studies

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

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).

The Neuroimmunology of Mood Disorders proposes an integrated investigative strategy utilizing immunological, neurochemical, and functional magnetic resonance imaging approaches to examine the neurobiology of anhedonia – the reduced capacity to experience pleasure – in adolescents with mood disorders. Our investigative approach that examines the neurobiology of specific symptoms addresses the challenges of the current categorical classification schema of depression and other mood disorders, which is based exclusively on a cluster of symptoms that often overlap with other disorders and represent distinct etiologies. This interdisciplinary approach is expected to provide novel insights into putative pathways associated with mood disorders and anhedonia in adolescents and may provide novel targets for treatment strategies and prevention measures. The project builds upon extensive data from the Gabbay laboratory displaying inflammation in the immune system and neurochemical alterations in depressed youth (see Gabbay Publications to learn more).

We are currently recruiting subjects ages 12-18, who express mood symptoms, to participate in either or both of the following studies:

Gamma-Amino Butyric Acid in Adolescent Mood Disorders, funded by the National Institutes of Mental Health as well as previously funded by the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation (formerly NARSAD), investigates brain GABA levels – the major inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain – in adolescents with mood disorders, and its corresponding relationship to mood 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.

Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) in Adolescent Mood Disorders examines neural brain function in children with mood symptoms at rest and in response to cognitive cues such as reward and fear. The fMRI scan is a non-invasive imaging technique that does not use radiation or lead to adverse events in adolescents.

For more information regarding our ongoing studies or participating in a clinical trial, please contact clinical research coordinator Amy Johnson (212-659-1673; amy.r.johnson@mssm.edu).


Contact Us

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

Research Division
Tel: 212-659-1673
E-mail: amy.r.johnson@mssm.edu

Mailing Address
One Gustave L. Levy Place, Box 1230
New York, NY 10029-6574

Street Address
1240 Park Avenue (enter on 96th St)
New York, New York 10029  Map