Emotion Study in Adolescents with and without Depression

This study seeks to understand how the brain controls emotional reactions.

This is done by taking pictures of your brain while you try to change how strongly you react to pictures that make most people feel strong emotions. This project aims to better understand what causes depression, so that we can design new treatments in the future. Our staff will answer any questions or concerns you may have and can help determine eligibility for this study.

Researchers on this team:

Who Can Participate?

Teenagers, ages 12 –18, who are right-handed and do not currently have braces. In addition, participants should be either:

  • free of major health or psychological problems OR
  • have a current or past depressive episode and are not currently on medications for it

Because of the use of MRI, anyone who has a permanent metal object (such as braces) inside his or her body cannot participate.

What Will I Do if I Participate?

Qualified participants will complete:

  • an interview with trained staff
  • neuropsychological testing, which consists of tests that measure cognitive abilities
  • questionnaires about a variety of things, including the participant’s thoughts
  • a safe and non-invasive fMRI scan

These activities may take 6-8 hours and can be scheduled over two visits, if desired. All information is kept strictly confidential, with one exception. Staff will tell parents or another health professional if they learn that the participant is in any danger of physically harming him/herself or others.

What Do I Get Out of This?

Participants will help us advance our understanding of brain function in teenagers with and without depression, with the goal of designing better treatment options in the future. Participants are given $20 an hour for the time that they participate. Also, a participant can request a CD with pictures of his or her brain after the fMRI scan. While our research staff cannot provide treatment, we can refer anyone who desires follow-up assessments or treatment to Hartford Healthcare staff who can assist you.

Adolescent Depression Information

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Olin Neuropsychiatry Research Center