Research Studies @ NYSPI / Columbia   

 

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Research in psychiatry is largely concerned with the attempt to understand and treat psychiatric illness. However, studies of people who are not symptomatic are equally important and yield valuable information about the range and complexity of “normal” behaviors and the environmental and biological factors associated with them.

Research in psychiatry requiring human participation falls roughly into four categories:

  • Studies of the basic biological and environmental causes of psychiatric disorders
  • Studies of the processes in the body that are not functioning properly when psychiatric disorder is present
  • Studies that seek ways to treat the disorder so that normal functioning is possible and
  • Studies of normal behavioral, psychological or biological functioning in children or adults.

If the study is a clinical treatment study, the comparison may be between those people taking an active medication to those taking a non-active pill (placebo) to see whether the medication is effective, or may examine the outcomes of two different medications in people who have similar symptoms to see which medication is more effective. In most studies, participants are randomly assigned to one group or another. A person cannot participate in a study without fully knowing about the study and without giving his/her informed consent.

At PI, once a study is over, people who have been assigned to a placebo treatment group are treated according to best medical practice at no cost to them. Everyone enrolled in a clinical treatment study is guaranteed treatment.


All research involving human participation is carefully evaluated and approved by NYSPI's Institutional Review Board before the research is allowed to begin. The IRB and the Office of Research Protections monitor ongoing research to ensure that it is conducted in a safe and ethical manner.

A federal oversight committee has commended NYSPI's IRB for its dedication to human subject protection.

 
  Anger and Coronary Artery Disease
 

Do you often feel Frustrated? Irritated? Easily Angered? WE MAY BE ABLE TO HELP YOU! Volunteers –age 20-45, healthy and of average weight – are needed to participate in a “no cost to you” treatment study of counseling for anger reduction. Click here for more information.

 
Anxiety
 

8-Week Open-Label Study of Riluzole in Anxiety Disorder Patients:
assessment of spectroscopic measures

The purpose of this study is to evaluate the safety, efficacy and tolerability of riluzole in the treatment of certain anxiety disorders, including panic disorder and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Riluzole is a medication that works by blocking glutamate, a natural neurochemical in the brain. Riluzole has not been used in a study of anxiety disorders to date. Riluzole is FDA-approved for the treatment of a neurological muscular disease called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig's Disease, and is being investigated in other neurological and psychiatric conditions. This study will also use a brain scan called magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) to see what changes riluzole makes in the chemistry of the brain.

If you are between the ages of 18 and 65 and interested in participating call us at (212) 543-1311 or e-mail Heidi Fitterling at fitterlh@child.cpmc.columbia.edu . You will be compensated for your time.

 To learn more about Generalized Anxiety Disorders, please click here.

(Protocol # 4251)

Treatment of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder with Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)

(IRB #4828)

Despite major advances in the study and treatment of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), patients often do not respond or experience only partial relief from medication or cognitive behavioral therapy. Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) is a non-invasive procedure that stimulates the brain using magnetic fields. Prior research has suggested that r TMS may be helpful in reducing obsessive and compulsive symptoms. This research study tests whether daily rTMS can improve response to conventional treatments of OCD.

Eligibility requirements for participation include: a) current OCD; b) currently on medication (a serotonin reuptake inhibitor) or are unable to tolerate the side effects of medication; c) Age 18-70. If you are on medication, you are asked to stay on your medication during the study at the same dose. Participation is free and confidential.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Antonio Mantovani, MD, PhD; (212) 543-6081
Contact: Teresa Nguyen, (212) 543-5664, nguyent@pi.cpmc.columbia.edu

Two treatments significantly reduce the symptoms of OCD: cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) using exposure and ritual prevention and medication with serotonin reuptake inhibitors: clomipramine (Anafranil), fluoxetine (Prozac), fluvoxamine (Luvox), paroxetine (Paxil), sertraline (Zoloft), and citalopram (Celexa).

For research on OCD, click here.

 

8-Week Open-Label Study of Riluzole in Anxiety Disorder Patients:
assessment of spectroscopic measures

The purpose of this study is to evaluate the safety, efficacy and tolerability of riluzole in the treatment of certain anxiety disorders, including panic disorder and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Riluzole is a medication that works by blocking glutamate, a natural neurochemical in the brain. Riluzole has not been used in a study of anxiety disorders to date. Riluzole is FDA-approved for the treatment of a neurological muscular disease called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig's Disease, and is being investigated in other neurological and psychiatric conditions. This study will also use a brain scan called magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) to see what changes riluzole makes in the chemistry of the brain.

If you are between the ages of 18 and 65 and interested in participating call us at (212) 543-1311 or e-mail Heidi Fitterling at fitterlh@child.cpmc.columbia.edu . You will be compensated for your time.

 To learn more about Panic Disorders, please click here.

(Protocol # 4251)

Nalmefene as a treatment of pathological gambling: A placebo-controlled dose-response study (IRB # 4333).

We would like to know whether nalmefene, a medication that is sometimes used to treat alcohol addiction, is effective in the treatment of pathological gambling. Individuals who decide to participate in this study will receive either medication (nalmefene) or placebo (a sugar pill that looks like medication). We think that people who take nalmefene will have an easier time stopping or decreasing their gambling behavior. At the conclusion of the study, people on placebo will be treated according to clinical need for three months at no cost to them.
PI: Carlos Blanco, M.D., Ph.D. (212) 543-6533

A pilot study of sertraline plus relapse prevention therapy (RP) for the treatment of pathological gambling with comorbid alcohol abuse or dependence (IRB # 4071).
Recent research has suggested that medications such as paroxetine (Paxil) or sertraline (Zoloft) may be effective in the treatment of Pathological Gambling. Relapse prevention therapy is a group of techniques that can help people decrease their use of drugs and engage in healthier activities. It is a treatment with well-established efficacy in the treatment of addictions. Since close to 50% of pathological gamblers have an additional diagnosis of alcohol abuse/dependence, we believe that combining sertraline and relapse prevention is more effective than relapse prevention alone in cases where these two disorders coexist.
PI: Carlos Blanco, M.D., Ph.D. (212) 543-6533

 

For research on PTSD, click here.

 

Studies show that you are five times more likely to have social anxiety disorder if your parents, siblings or children suffer from the disorder. This may point to a genetic link.

 If you are interested and want to learn more, please click here.

(Protocol # 4495)

Panic disorder may be hereditary. There is evidence that parents, siblings and children of a person with panic disorder are eight times more likely to suffer from panic themselves.

If you'd like to participate in our study or get more information, please click here.

(Protocol # 4495)

The Anxiety Disorders Clinic is currently seeking participants with social anxiety disorder (extreme shyness and/or social phobias) to participate in several research studies.

For research on Social Anxiety Disorder, click here.

 

Bipolar Disorders

 

The Columbia / NYSPI Bipolar Genetic Study has assembled one of the largest samples of families with manic depression in North America. Increasing the number of families with manic depressive illness in our sample will increase the likelihood of identifying the various genes involved in bipolar illness.   

To learn more about our current studies, click here.

 
Brain Behavior Clinic

Our research and treatment program is examining new ways of treating depression that do not just rely on talk or conventional medication therapies. Our program may be of special interest to patients for whom conventional treatments have not been effective, or who prefer to try different therapies. While still at an early stage of development and investigation, preliminary evidence suggests that focused magnetic stimulation of the brain may be helpful in treating depression. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, Magnetic Seizure Therapy, and other techniques are now being put to more extensive testing to see how efficacious and safe they are and to see which types of depression are most responsive to these approaches.To find out more about the  Brain-Behavior Clinic please click here.

Please click here for a video clip about RTMS study.

n rTMS therapy, a device called a “stimulator” provides electrical energy to a “magnetic coil” that delivers a magnetic field. When placed against the surface of the head, this coil can cause certain parts of the brain to either increase or decrease in activity, depending on how quickly the magnetic pulses are delivered. This study is designed to test whether high-frequency TMS delivered to an area near the temple, called the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, can improve the so-called “negative symptoms” of schizophrenia, which include decreased thinking, difficulty motivating, and social withdrawal.

Participation in the study consists of sessions lasting about 45 minutes per day, 5 days a week, for 4 weeks

To find out more about this study please click here.

 

 
Depression

Studies of families show that the parents, siblings, and children of a person with major depression that began before the age of 30 are three to five times more likely to have major depression themselves. We are trying to learn if genes are associated with major depression. You will be paid $25 to $75 for your participation.

For more information, please click here.
(IRB #5094)

 

The Clinical Chronobiology group is currently recruiting participants ages 18 to 40 for their study which uses a new alternative drug-free treatment – light therapy without UV – to treat pregnant women for their depression. The study requires clinic visits every 1 to 2 weeks but otherwise all treatments are done at home. Participants will continue to be monitored by their own obstetrician.

If you are interested in finding out more about the study, please call 212-543-6118 x2 or click on the study name above. (IRB #3807)

 

The Clinical Chronobiology group is now recruiting volunteers for a study that investigates drug-free treatments for chronic depression. If you are currently taking an SSRI antidepressant, our study would allow you to continue using your medication. Our treatments use either bright light, high-density negative air ionization or low-density negative air ionization. Treatments take place in your home.

If you are interested in finding out more about the study, please call 212-543-6118 x4 or click on the study name above.
(IRB #3554)

 

In this NIH-sponsored study, which is in its fifth year, the Clinical Chronobiology group is investigating how non-drug treatments – light therapy, dawn simulation, and negative air ionization – compare with each other in relieving symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). All treatments are designed to mimic summer’s light or air conditions. Participants visit the New York State Psychiatric Institute for periodic visits but treatment is done at home.

If you are interested in finding out more about the study, please call 212-543-5714 or click on the study name above. (IRB # 4229R)

 

  • Transthyretin Study of Depression  

The purpose of this study is to find out if the level of a protein called transthyretin (TTR), which is involved in the regulation of thyroid hormone, is abnormal in the spinal fluid (CSF) of patients with depression. The study will involve a spinal tap (lumbar puncture), blood tests, urine tests, and questionnaires. You will receive treatment for your depression with a medication that our Columbia University psychiatrists and you decide is best for you. Following treatment, which will usually last eight weeks, you will receive another spinal tap and blood tests.

There is no cost to you for treatment visits or medication.

Call (212) 543-6758 for more information on our evaluation and research /treatment study, all at no cost.

(Protocol # 3314)

The Mid and Late Life Depression Clinic offers FREE and confidential outpatient treatment using medication for depression to individuals over 45 who meet criteria for participation in specific research studies. Our team of qualified psychiatrists, social workers, nurses and research coordinators evaluate and treat men and women from all walks of life. The current research studies cover a wide range of depressive disorders including major depression with and without melancholia, atypical depression, dysthymia, a mild, chronic type of depression, as well as depression with cognitive impairment. A brief telephone interview is conducted to determine eligibility for evaluation and possible treatment at the clinic. We are dedicated to the understanding and treatment of depressive disorders and its related conditions in older persons in order to improve the quality of life and health care of this population. 

For more information contact Tobe Gerson, Clinical Coordinator, at 212-543-5825.

  • Antidepressant Treatment Studies for Combined Depression and Memory Complaints

We are currently conducting medication treatment studies for individuals (age 50+) experiencing both depression and mild memory and/or concentration difficulties. The studies offer both neuropsychological testing for memory and psychiatric evaluation of mood prior to and during the period of treatment. Treatment in our clinic is provided for eligible individuals at no cost for at least 6 months.

For further information, please contact Oliver Harper at 212-543-5067.

 
  • Duloxetine Treatment of Chronic Depression in Older Patients:

This twelve-week study uses the medication duloxetine (Cymbalta) for the treatment of mild-to-moderate chronic depression in older adults (age 60+). After the twelve-week medication trial, additional treatment will be available for a minimum of three months.

For further information, please contact Oliver Harper at 212-543-5067.

 
  • Placebo-controlled V. Comparator Anti-depressant Trials in Adults with Depression

In this eight-week study, participants will receive escitalopram (Lexapro) or citalopram (Celexa) or pill placebo. Patients will return to the Adult and Late-life Depression clinic for weekly visits, at which they will receive clinical management and complete assessment measures. After the 8-week trial, appropriate treatment will be provided free for 3 months.

For further information, please contact Analia Alvarez at 212-543-5825.

 
Eating Disorders
The NYSPI Eating Disorders Clinic is a nationally recognized treatment/research program. The purpose of the clinic is to study Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, and Binge Eating Disorder in an effort to find more effective treatments for each. We offer free treatment to eligible women who suffer from anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and to men and women who suffer from binge eating disorder
 
NEUROSCIENCE

The Neuroscience Clinic for Mood and Personality Disorders at New York State Psychiatric Institute is located at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in New York City. The primary goal of the center is to study mood disorders (depression and bipolar disorder), borderline personality disorder, self-injury, and suicidal behavior in order to find more effective treatments for them. We study these disorders and behaviors using a variety of biological, pharmacological, and psychological approaches. Because we are a research clinic, we offer free treatment or financial compensation to eligible adults in exchange for their participation in our studies. Both inpatient and outpatient treatment are available from psychiatrists, psychologists, and research personnel trained specifically in the study of these disorders and behaviors. We are funded by the National Institutes of Mental Health, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the Theodore and Vada Stanley Foundation, the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression, and several other foundations. All studies are approved by the New York State Psychiatric Institute and/or Columbia University IRB Institutional Review Boards.

 To learn about major depression, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, suicidal behavior, and self-injury, click here. 

To learn more about our current studies, click here.

 
  • DEFICITS OF THE 5-HT1A RECEPTOR SYSTEM AS A TRAIT MARKER
    IN MAJOR DEPRESSIVE DISORDER
Overview: This study uses brain-imaging technology (PET scans) to visualize and research brain biochemistry identified with depression. The goal is to use this technology to determine if people that have a family history of depression have similar brain biochemistry as depressed individuals.

Compensation:
You will be compensated up to $250 for your time, travel and lost wages. Eligibility:
• Ages 18 to 29
• Family History of Depression
• Healthy Benefits to participant:
• This study provides no direct benefit to you.
• Your participation in this study can help further our understanding of depression and speed the recovery of others who suffer from depression in the future.For more information about participating, or if you have questions about the study, please contact:
Brendan Carroll, BA
Phone: 212-543-5902
Email: bc2234@columbia.edu
 
  • Predicting Response to Treatment with Antidepressants
(Ramin V. Parsey, MD, PhD.; IRB# 5206)

Overview: This study uses brain imaging technology (PET scans) to visualize and research brain biochemistry identified with depression. The goal is to use this technology to predict which treatment will be the most effective for individuals with depression. In exchange for study participation, patients receive no-cost outpatient treatment for five months, or inpatient treatment, depending on their clinical needs, as part of a treatment study. You will be paid up to $415 for your time and effort if you are eligible and choose to participate.

Eligibility:

● Ages 18 to 65

● Meets criteria for Major Depressive Disorder

● Currently depressed

Benefits to participant:

● Free, thorough clinical evaluation by doctoral-level psychologist and/or psychiatrist

● No-cost inpatient or outpatient treatment

For more information about participating, or if you have questions about the study, please contact:

Maggie

Phone: 212-543-1427
Email: depression-studies@columbia.edu

Hours: Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm

 
Schizophrenia
 
The Lieber Schizophrenia Research Clinic (LSRC) is located at New York State Psychiatric Institute and the Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University.  The goal of the LSRC is to answer a wide range of scientific questions about the nature and causes of schizophrenia through a multi-faceted research program.  The clinic’s ability to follow patients over time will help develop a more comprehensive knowledge base about schizophrenia that will facilitate the development of more effective treatments for this illness.  Admission to the LSRC is contingent upon a willingness to participate in research studies.  The LSRC provides the following treatment services for eligible individuals suffering with schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, schizophreniform disorder, or new onset psychotic disorder:  full psychiatric evaluation, individual medication management visits with a clinic psychiatrist, and weekly group therapy.  These services are provided at no cost to patients or their families.  Patients are only responsible for the cost of their medications.  All studies are approved by the New York State Psychiatric Institute Institutional Review Board.    If you are interested in finding out more about the LSRC and the criteria for admission consideration, please call 212-543-5418 or click here.

The Schizophrenia Research Unit (SRU) is a 12-bed inpatient unit at New York State Psychiatric Institute on the Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Campus. The SRU aims to answer a wide range of scientific questions about the nature and causes of this illness through a multi-faceted research program. The program’s goal is to develop a comprehensive knowledge base about schizophrenia that will facilitate the development of more effective treatments for this illness. Admission to the SRU is contingent upon a willingness to participate in research studies. The SRU provides extensive evaluation and clinical treatment for eligible individuals suffering with schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, schizophrenia disorder, or new onset psychotic disorder. The SRU is supported by federal, state, and private funding. All clinical treatment is provided at no cost to patients or their families. All studies are approved by the New York State Psychiatric Institute Review Board.

If you are interested in finding out more about the SRU and the criteria for admission consideration , please call 212-543-5418 or click here.

 
Substance Abuse
 
The Substance Treatment and Research Service (STARS) provides confidential treatment for users of cocaine, heroin and marijuana. In a research setting, our experienced psychiatrists, psychologists and other clinicians will perform a complete psychiatric and medical evaluation. If you are eligible to participate in one of our studies, we will also provide treatment medications and individual psychotherapy. There is no charge to the patient for evaluation, medication or therapy.
 
Teen-young adult problem prevention & evaluation center
  • Center of Prevention and Evaluation

    Withdrawal from friends. Trouble concentrating. Lost motivation. Poor performance in school. Are these signs of the storm of adolescence, or could they be symptoms of a more serious problem such as depression, drug use, or even the early signs of a developing psychosis?

We have opened a new clinic to evaluate and treat teens and young adults ages 12-25 who have had changes in thoughts and feelings that may be confusing and even frightening, and who have had problems in relationships, school or work. The Center’s goal is to understand more about these problems, to treat each person in the way that is best for them and then evaluate how they change over time in order to understand what makes them better or worse.

For more information, call 212-543-6177.

HEALTHY PARTICIPANTS
 
  • Amyloid and Glucose Brain Imaging Research Study for People with and without Memory Problems
This study uses imaging procedures to understand brain changes that are related to Alzheimer’s disease. Participants receive a Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scan that uses a radioactive marker that is taken up by abnormal deposits (a.k.a. amyloid deposits), which may be related to Alzheimer’s disease. A PET glucose scan and an MRI scan, which are standard clinical procedures, are also done in this research study. These procedures are performed once at an initial visit and then again one year later. Participants are reimbursed $100 for a PET scan day and $50 for an MRI scan.

For further information, please contact Katrina Cuasay at 212-543-5025.

 
  • Brain Wave Studies
Researchers in the Cognitive Electrophysiology Laboratory (CEPL) in the Department of Medical Genetics are interested in the relationship between the mind and the brain. We learn a great deal about how the mind and brain interact by studying the patterns of brain activity as different cognitive tasks are performed. Brain activity is recorded as electrical impulses, which can be read off the scalp. Participants in our studies wear a cap – similar to a bathing cap- that has sensors attached to it. The sensors record the electrical activity of the brain from the scalp while volunteers perform a variety of cognitive tasks, such as determining if a word represents a living or man-made concept. The recording of these brain waves is non-invasive and poses no risks to individuals who participate.

Volunteers are paid $15.00/hour for participating. Individuals interested in participating should be between the ages of 18 and 30, English must be their primary language, and they must be in good general health with no major psychiatric, neurological, hearing or visual problems.

If you are interested or want to learn more, please call 212-543-6034.

Children’s Brain Wave Studies

Are you and your child interested in helping to further our understanding of how attention and memory develop as we grow? The Cognitive Electrophysiology Lab is looking for children (ages 9-10) and teenagers (ages 13-14) to participate in brain wave studies. Our research methods are safe, non-invasive and do not involve medications. Children must be in good health, fluent in English, with no medical, psychiatric or learning disabilities. All participants will receive $25 per session, a picture of them wearing the brain wave cap, as well as fun prizes and a lab t-shirt. Available on weekends!

Please call Brenda at 212-543-6034 for more information

brain

 

 
  • Cognitive Behavior

The Biopsychology Division is looking for healthy adults (ages 18-60) to participate in a research study involving cognitive tests and brain waves. Participants are paid $15 per hour for two or three 2-3 hour sessions.

For more information, please call us at 212-543-5473.

 
To learn about other research studies or to get treatment information call Mr. John Jacono, Director, Office of Community Outreach, (212) 543-5659

Page last updated 04/10/07