fMRI Study of Treatment Changes in Major Depression

2014-08-27 03:17:26 | BioPortfolio


The overall purposes of this research are to determine if Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has the same healing effect on the brain for people with depression as traditional anti-depressants do, to find out more about the causes of depression and why people differ in the extent of problems caused by depression, and to determine if certain differences in genes within populations are related to clinical symptoms. We hypothesize that CBT will have the same healing effect on the brain as antidepressants; that differences in brain activations created by the various tasks and genetic differences will help us understand differences in the type and severity of symptoms among the depressed subjects.


The overall purposes of this research are to determine if Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has the same healing effect on the brain for people with depression as traditional anti-depressants do, to find out more about the causes of depression and why people differ in the extent of problems caused by depression, and to determine if certain differences in genes within populations are related to clinical symptoms.The genes we are examining for this study are called "COMT, BDNF, and 5-HTT long arm and short arm", as well as future genes that may be discovered to play a role in depression at a later time, and will be determined by examining a sample of your saliva and a small blood sample. The method we are using to study depression is Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) which takes pictures of the brain. This method allows us to identify certain parts of the brain that show how the brain works in controlling negative feelings. These pictures will compare 50 depressed individuals with 50 individuals who are not depressed.

Three tasks will be performed during the scan which are designed to cause activations in the brain areas we are interested in. In the first task, subjects will do a matching task in which the stimuli to match are either faces or houses and in which flanking distracters are either faces or houses. The goal of participants in this task is to attend to stimuli in either the horizontal or the vertical plane. On each trial, non-task relevant stimuli (distracters) are presented in the non-attended plane. One some trials these distracter stimuli are houses, on some trials neutral faces and on some trials they are negative faces. In the second task, participants will be presented with pre-recorded statements using words from the list of 555 personality/trait words compiled by Anderson (1968). Examples of these statements are "I am happy", "You are lucky", "You are dull", and "You are greedy". For negative statements, participants will be instructed to either passively listen to the statement or decrease their emotional response to the statement. For neutral statements, participants will be asked to passively listen to the statements.Subjects will then be asked how much the statement applies to them, on a 4-part Likert-type scale. In the third task, subjects will be asked to focus all their attention on a single fixation point. This will allow us to measure their resting state connectivity between specific brain regions.

Study Design

Allocation: Randomized, Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment, Masking: Single Blind (Outcomes Assessor)


Major Depression


Sertraline, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy


Washington University
St. Louis
United States




National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)

Results (where available)

View Results


Published on BioPortfolio: 2014-08-27T03:17:26-0400

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