MoodNetwork Study Opportunities

MoodNetwork study opportunities are studies that are designed by and for our community. Conducted within the MoodNetwork community, these studies can lead to more effective treatments for mood disorders, including new and alternative therapies. In the long run, the information from these studies will contribute to a pool of data large enough for researchers to figure out which treatments work best for which kind of mood disorders.

By participating in these studies and contributing your experience, concerns, and ideas, you will help evaluate existing treatments as well as weigh in on promising new approaches.

Healthy Hearts Healthy Minds: An Overview

Individuals with depression are four times more likely to die from coronary heart disease than someone who does not have depression. At the same time, the risk of having a heart attack with depression is double that of individuals who do not have depression. Exercise, improves both depression and risk factors for heart disease; yet, most Americans do not exercise regularly, especially those with depression and/or heart disease.

This study is important to these individuals as most of them want to exercise, but have difficulty finding the motivation and energy to do so, which has a substantially negative impact on their physical and mental health. This study will compare two empirically supported treatments designed to help individuals with a mood disorder at risk for or with heart disease to increase their physical activity as objectively measured by a Fitbit (which we will provide to participants at no cost).

This new study, focused on getting people moving, is funded by the Patient Centered Outcome Research Institute (PCORI) and involves 2 Patient Powered Research Networks (PPRNs) known as the MoodNetwork and the Health eHeart Alliance. With the help of patients across the country the Healthy Hearts Healthy Minds study team aims to be able to study the best method to get people to be more physically active - making them happier and healthier in the process.

What is the purpose of the study?

Healthy Hearts Healthy Minds aims to compare two kinds of empirically supported treatment programs to see which is most effective at motivating people to be more physically active and increasing well-being: an online, standard, eight-week mindfulness training and an online, eight-session “cognitive-behavioral” training. The study may also tell us what groups of people do better with one or the other program.

How does the study work?

500 participants will be recruited from the MoodNetwork and the Health eHeart Alliance. They will be randomly assigned to either the mindfulness training, the cognitive-behavioral training, or a control group. Participants, regardless of group assignment, will receive a Fitbit Charge 2 at no cost.

All participants will fill out standard well-being and safety assessments every other week for eight weeks to see how they are doing. Participants will also do follow-up assessments after sixteen weeks has elapsed since starting the study. All sessions and assessments will be done online.

You may qualify if:
  • You are physically active less than 150 minutes per week
  • Have a body mass index (BMI) greater than 25kg/m2
  • You possess an internet enabled device (e.g. smartphone, tablet/iPad, or desktop) with the Fitbit app and a registered personal account with Fitbit
What does participation involve?
  • Wearing a FitBit Charge 2 throughout the duration of the 16 week study
  • Filling out questionnaires via a secure, online system
  • Potentially participating in additional weekly program sessions for 8 weeks, depending on which program you are assigned to.

Healthy Mind, Healthy You

Join a nationwide study that looks at how to use mindfulness to cope with stress. The study is called Healthy Mind Healthy You. The goal is to learn more about how mindfulness can reduce stress. In the study, you are randomly assigned to one of two online mindfulness programs, a three-session program or an eight-session program.

This study is for members of MoodNetwork. It includes patients, caregivers, and family members.

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness focuses on being in the present moment. At the same time, you observe your thoughts and feelings in an accepting, non-judgmental way. When you do mindfulness, you usually start by paying attention to your breathing and your body. Then you move to your thoughts and feelings.

Mindfulness comes from a tradition that goes back hundreds of years. This study is not related to any religion.

What do I have to do to join?
  • Have access to the internet with a computer or mobile device.
  • Be at least 10 years old.
  • Review information about the study and agree (consent) to join the study.
  • Answer a few questions about yourself.
  • Complete the three-session or eight-session online mindfulness program.
  • Fill out questionnaires during the study so we can see how you are doing.

TestMyBrain

MoodNetwork has collaborated with TestMyBrain to offer MoodNetwork participants fun, online brain games with feedback on how you did. Established by researchers at Harvard and Massachusetts General Hospital, TestMyBrain is part of the Many Brains Project, a non-profit organization that creates tools to help you learn about yourself. You can read more about TestMyBrain here.

Online Brain Game

A Study of Familial Depression

Depression affects 15 million Americans each year. More than 44,000 Americans die by suicide each year. Depression and suicidal behavior risk are transmitted in families due to a combination of genes and environment. Depressive illness and the risk of suicidal behavior are associated with altered brain function that we can detect by brain imaging.

A research study is being conducted at Columbia University Medical Center that aims to examine brain function in adults who have a parent or sibling who has suffered from depression and made a suicide attempt. You may be eligible if you are between the ages of 25 and 60 years old and have lost a first degree relative to suicide.

The goal of the study is to detect who is at risk of developing depression and who is not going to develop depression so we can prevent these problems before they occur. Your participation could help researchers better understand the causes of suicidal behavior and depression and help others who suffer from depression in the future. Procedures include brain imaging (MRI and PET), neuropsychological testing and a detailed clinical assessment. The compensation for participating is up to $600.

Please feel to contact the study coordinator, Allison, at almetts@nyspi.columbia.edu or (646) 774-7560 if you are interested in participating or have questions.