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Children

Join a Research Study: Healthy Volunteers

Anxiety and Attention and Emotional Memory

This outpatient study seeks healthy children between the ages of 8 and 17 to participate in research on mood and anxiety disorders. The study investigates how the brain changes during computer-based training tasks and how breathing patterns and emotions are related. Procedures include psychological interviews, a physical exam, lab work, and brain scans.

The study is conducted at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. Your child may be eligible if he/she is interested and has your consent to participate medically healthy, free of current or past history of psychiatric illness, not currently taking any medication.

First steps to participate include, calling NIMH, learning study details, asking about your eligibility, and consenting to participate. There is no cost to participate and compensation is provided.

To find out if you qualify, email NIMH or call 1-301-402-2352 [TTY: 1-866-411-1010].

Join a Research Study: Bipolar Disorder

A Study of Brain Function and Symptoms in Children who have Bipolar Disorder, or a Parent or Sibling with Bipolar Disorder

This research protocol seeks to learn more about bipolar disorder in children and adolescents ages 6-17. The protocol studies children who have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and those who have a sibling or parent with bipolar disorder and are thus considered “at risk” for developing the disorder. Researchers study the moods and behaviors of children with bipolar disorder and those at risk for the disorder, and use specialized testing and brain imaging to learn about brain changes associated with the disorder. This is a descriptive, longitudinal study.

Study Procedures

After a preliminary phone interview, participants may be invited to NIMH for an on-site evaluation to determine eligibility. If eligibility criteria are met, participants may choose to enroll in the descriptive study. Study procedures include interviews, research testing, and brain imaging scans. Testing and brain imaging occurs at yearly visits, which can continue to age 25. Yearly phone contact occurs in between visits.

Children with bipolar disorder must be in treatment with a psychiatrist or provider, and/or medically healthy and not currently hospitalized, psychotic or suicidal.

The studies are conducted at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland and enroll participants from across the USA.  All clinical evaluations, research procedures and outpatient visits are free of cost. Travel expenses and lodging are paid by NIMH. Both parent and child must agree to the child’s participation in research. Children and parents are compensated for participation.

To find out about study criteria and qualifications, or for more information, please call (301 496-8381) or email us at bipolarkids@mail.nih.gov

A) Descriptive/longitudinal study for children with bipolar disorder:  When children have bipolar disorder, do their brains work in ways that are different than those of other children? How do the symptoms of bipolar disorder change as children grow up?

This research study will describe the moods, behaviors and brain development of bipolar disorder in children over time.  Participants, ages 6-17, may be invited to enroll after an initial outpatient visit. If found to be eligible based on their past mood and behaviors, they are invited to participate in the study.  Face-to-face evaluations and study procedures occur at yearly study visits, which can continue to age 25. Yearly phone contact occurs between visits.

Yearly study visits last one to two days and may include obtaining information about mood and behavior, research tasks, and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). Research tasks include questionnaires, interviews, and direct observation; tests of mood, memory, and thinking using paper-and-pencil and computer tests; behavioral research tasks; and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans.  Children continue in treatment with a psychiatrist or other provider in their community and continue taking the medications prescribed by that clinician. This study does not involve special treatment medications.

B) Descriptive/longitudinal study for children “at risk” for bipolar disorder:

Most children with a parent or sibling with bipolar disorder do not themselves develop bipolar disorder.  However, they are at increased risk to do so compared to children who do not have a relative with the illness.  The purpose of this study is to compare symptoms and brain function in children “at risk” for bipolar disorder vs. children who are not at risk, with the ultimate goal of being able to predict who will develop the illness and how to prevent it.

In this study, children, ages 6-17 who have a parent or a sibling with bipolar disorder participate in non-treatment research. Children may or may not have been diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder.  Those taking medications for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder may be eligible for participation. This study does not involve treatment. 

Eligibility is based on confirming that the child’s parent or sibling has a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, and on the at-risk child’s own past mood and behaviors. Interested families complete a preliminary telephone interview. Those who appear to be eligible come to NIMH for an initial outpatient visit at which the child receives a clinical assessment and testing. If eligible, the child and his/her family are invited to participate in the descriptive longitudinal study for children “at risk” for bipolar disorder.  Study procedures like those described in for the descriptive longitudinal study for children with bipolar disorder (see A, above).  

To find out if you qualify, email NIMH or call 1-301-496-8381 [TTY: 1-866-411-1010].

Join a Research Study: Enrolling nationally from around the Country

A Study of Brain Function and Symptoms in Children with Severe Mood Dysregulation

This study seeks to learn more about the symptoms of severe mood dysregulation in children and adolescents ages 7-17. Children and adolescents with severe mood dysregulation (SMD) display chronic anger, sadness, or irritability, as well as hyperarousal (such as insomnia, distractibility, hyperactivity) and extreme responses to frustration (such as frequent, severe temper tantrums). Researchers will describe the moods and behaviors of children with these symptoms and use specialized testing and brain imaging to learn about the brain changes associated with this disorder.

Study participation begins with an initial outpatient evaluation that lasts one day. Then, testing and brain imaging are completed at two-three day outpatient visits which occur every two years until participants reach age 25. Phone contact occurs every six months in between visits.

Descriptive/Longitudinal Study: When children have severe mood dysregulation (SMD), do their brains work differently than those of other children? How do their symptoms change as the children grow up?

After a preliminary phone interview, participants may be invited to NIMH for an on-site assessment. Children must be in treatment with a psychiatrist or provider, and/or medically healthy and not currently hospitalized, psychotic or suicidal.

A principal focus of the research is how mood, behavior, and brain development of children with severe mood dysregulation (SMD) change over time. Study procedures at the two-three day visits may include questionnaires and interviews; paper-and-pencil and computer tests of mood, memory, and thinking; specialized computer games; and structural and functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans. These visits occur every two years until age 25. Children continue in treatment with a provider or psychiatrist in their community. This study does not involve treatment medications.

To find out if you qualify, email NIMH or call 1-301-496-8381 [TTY: 1-866-411-1010].

Join a Research Study: Bipolar Disorder

A Study of Brain Function and Symptoms in Children with Severe Mood Dysregulation

This study seeks to learn more about the symptoms of severe mood dysregulation in children and adolescents ages 7-17. Children and adolescents with severe mood dysregulation (SMD) display chronic anger, sadness, or irritability, as well as hyperarousal (such as insomnia, distractibility, hyperactivity) and extreme responses to frustration (such as frequent, severe temper tantrums). Researchers will describe the moods and behaviors of children with these symptoms and use specialized testing and brain imaging to learn about the brain changes associated with this disorder.

Study participation begins with an initial outpatient evaluation that lasts one day. Then, testing and brain imaging are completed at two-three day outpatient visits which occur every two years until participants reach age 25. Phone contact occurs every six months in between visits.

Descriptive/Longitudinal Study: When children have severe mood dysregulation (SMD), do their brains work differently than those of other children? How do their symptoms change as the children grow up?

After a preliminary phone interview, participants may be invited to NIMH for an on-site assessment. Children must be in treatment with a psychiatrist or provider, and/or medically healthy and not currently hospitalized, psychotic or suicidal.

A principal focus of the research is how mood, behavior, and brain development of children with severe mood dysregulation (SMD) change over time. Study procedures at the two-three day visits may include questionnaires and interviews; paper-and-pencil and computer tests of mood, memory, and thinking; specialized computer games; and structural and functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans. These visits occur every two years until age 25. Children continue in treatment with a provider or psychiatrist in their community. This study does not involve treatment medications.

To find out if you qualify, email NIMH or call 1-301-496-8381 [TTY: 1-866-411-1010].

Join a Research Study: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Brain Imaging of Childhood Onset Psychiatric Disorders, Endocrine Disorders and Healthy Controls

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) combines a powerful magnet, radio waves, and sophisticated computer technology to provide exquisitely accurate information about the anatomy and physiology of the living, growing human brain - and it does so without the use of harmful radiation. This allows not only for the scanning of children and teens but of repeated scans over the course of development and has launched a new era of adolescent neuroscience. In this study, researchers will use MRIs to assess brain anatomy and function in healthy volunteers and patients with a variety of childhood onset psychiatric disorders. Identical or non-identical twins are of particular interest for the study. Also, because of questions about differences between boy and girl brains people that have atypical hormone levels, such as in congenital adrenal hyperplasia or precocious puberty, or atypical sex chromosome numbers, such as XXY, XXX, XYY, or XXXXY will be included as well. In addition to the brain images, information will be collected about behavior, emotions, and cognition and combined with genetic testing to explore the relationships between genes, brain, and behavior.

To find out if you qualify, email NIMH or call 1-301-496-7962 [TTY: 1-866-411-1010].

Join a Research Study: Schizophrenia

Brain Imaging of Childhood Onset Psychiatric Disorders, Endocrine Disorders and Healthy Controls

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) combines a powerful magnet, radio waves, and sophisticated computer technology to provide exquisitely accurate information about the anatomy and physiology of the living, growing human brain - and it does so without the use of harmful radiation. This allows not only for the scanning of children and teens but of repeated scans over the course of development and has launched a new era of adolescent neuroscience. In this study, researchers will use MRIs to assess brain anatomy and function in healthy volunteers and patients with a variety of childhood onset psychiatric disorders. Identical or non-identical twins are of particular interest for the study. Also, because of questions about differences between boy and girl brains people that have atypical hormone levels, such as in congenital adrenal hyperplasia or precocious puberty, or atypical sex chromosome numbers, such as XXY, XXX, XYY, or XXXXY will be included as well. In addition to the brain images, information will be collected about behavior, emotions, and cognition and combined with genetic testing to explore the relationships between genes, brain, and behavior.

To find out if you qualify, email NIMH or call 1-301-496-7962 [TTY: 1-866-411-1010].

Join a Research Study: Healthy Volunteers

Childhood Mood Disorders and Brain Function

This study seeks healthy children between the ages of 8-17 to participate in research comparing healthy children to those with ADHD, mood, and/or anxiety disorders. Healthy children are medically and psychologically healthy, and medication-free. Participation may include psychological interviews and brain imaging. Both parent and child must consent to participate. Outpatient visits (3 to 8) are conducted at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.

First steps to participate include, calling NIMH, learning study details, asking about your eligibility, and consenting to participate. There is no cost to participate and compensation is provided.

If your child has ADHD or Bipolar Disorder, please click that diagnosis in the column on the left for more information.

To find out if you qualify, email NIMH or call 1-301-402-2352 [TTY: 1-866-411-1010].

Join a Research Study: Bipolar Disorder

Clinical Trial of Citalopram and Methylphenidate in Severe Mood Dysregulation

This study is testing the effectiveness of methylphenidate plus citalopram vs. methylphenidate plus placebo for decreasing irritability in children with severe mood dysregulation (SMD). Children with SMD display chronic anger, sadness, or irritability, as well as hyperarousal (such as insomnia, distractibility, hyperactivity) and extreme responses to frustration (such as frequent, severe temper tantrums).

Children ages seven to 17 with SMD may be eligible to participate in this 12- to 15-week inpatient or outpatient study. This study has four phases. During Phase I participants are gradually withdrawn from all current psychotropic medications. Phase II is a one-week psychotropic medication-free period. During Phase III, which lasts two weeks, participants are treated with methylphenidate alone. Phase IV lasts for eight weeks. During this time, participants continue methylphenidate treatment and are randomly assigned to also receive either citalopram or placebo.

At the end of the study, those who received methylphenidate plus placebo will have the opportunity to receive methylphenidate plus active citalopram if clinically appropriate.

All procedures and medications associated with the research are provided at no cost to participants, and transportation expenses are reimbursed by NIMH. Schooling will be provided while on the inpatient unit or in day treatment.

To find out if you qualify, email NIMH or call 1-301-496-8381 [TTY: 1-866-411-1010].

Join a Research Study: Irritability

Clinical Trial of Citalopram and Methylphenidate in Severe Mood Dysregulation

This study is testing the effectiveness of methylphenidate plus citalopram vs. methylphenidate plus placebo for decreasing irritability in children with severe mood dysregulation (SMD). Children with SMD display chronic anger, sadness, or irritability, as well as hyperarousal (such as insomnia, distractibility, hyperactivity) and extreme responses to frustration (such as frequent, severe temper tantrums).

Children ages seven to 17 with SMD may be eligible to participate in this 12- to 15-week inpatient or outpatient study. This study has four phases. During Phase I participants are gradually withdrawn from all current psychotropic medications. Phase II is a one-week psychotropic medication-free period. During Phase III, which lasts two weeks, participants are treated with methylphenidate alone. Phase IV lasts for eight weeks. During this time, participants continue methylphenidate treatment and are randomly assigned to also receive either citalopram or placebo.

At the end of the study, those who received methylphenidate plus placebo will have the opportunity to receive methylphenidate plus active citalopram if clinically appropriate.

All procedures and medications associated with the research are provided at no cost to participants, and transportation expenses are reimbursed by NIMH. Schooling will be provided while on the inpatient unit or in day treatment.

To find out if you qualify, email NIMH or call 1-301-496-8381 [TTY: 1-866-411-1010].

Join a Research Study: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Comparing Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder to Bipolar Disorder in Children: Investigations of Brain Function and Irritability

This research study seeks to learn about how attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and bipolar disorder (BD) are different in children and adolescents. Researchers will describe the moods and behaviors of children and investigate brain function and irritability. Children with ADHD are being invited to participate as a comparison group as part of a larger research protocol on children with bipolar disorder.

Currently recruiting ages 9-17, with an ADHD diagnosis to participate in 2 outpatient day visits. Children must be medically healthy, and free of bipolar disorder or any mood or other psychiatric disorder that requires treatment. Preference may be given to children who are able to be off stimulant medication for up to 3 days. Children with ADHD will not receive treatment in this study.

Participation includes interviews, research testing, and brain imaging scans.

The studies enroll local participants and are conducted at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. All clinical evaluations, research procedures and visits are free of cost. Travel expenses are paid by NIMH. Both parent and child must agree to the child's participation in research. Children and parents are compensated for participation.

To find out if you qualify, email NIMH or call 1-301-496-8381 [TTY: 1-866-411-1010].

Join a Research Study: Healthy Volunteers

How Does Puberty Affect Brain Development?

Your healthy child age 8, 12, or 13 is invited to participate in an NIH outpatient research study that examines how puberty affects brain development. Participation includes 1-3 day outpatient visits to the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland every 8-10 months until age 17, for a physical examination, body measurements, questionnaires, MRI scans, blood draws, urine collection and x-rays. Participants must NOT have any chronic medical or psychiatric illnesses, nor be on any long-term medication. Parents must agree to their child’s participation. Evaluations and research procedures are free of cost. Compensation is provided. Call for information and eligibility criteria. 

To find out if you qualify, email NIMH or call 1-301-496-9576 [TTY: 1-866-411-1010].

Join a Research Study: Anxiety Disorders, Depression

Pediatric Mood and Anxiety Research

This pediatric research study seeks to learn how the brain functions in children and adolescents with anxiety and/or depression. These studies seek boys and girls ages 8-17 to participate in research at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. Research participation includes brain imaging and computer-based problem solving and memory tasks. Treatment is available over 8 weeks of outpatient visits.

All participants will receive interviews to assess how they are doing in general, including his or her general mood, degree of nervousness and behavior. Each participant and one of his or her parents will be interviewed separately and together. All those enrolled in the study will have a physical examination. They will undergo tests involving problem-solving and memory and perform tasks that involve looking at pictures, remembering things, testing reaction times, and making simple choices.

Participants with anxiety or depression will first meet with a psychiatrist or psychologist for two weekly sessions of talk therapy. Those who remain anxious or depressed after these 2 weeks will have the 3 options based on their choice: 1) treatment with fluoxetine daily for 8 weeks 2) cognitive-behavioral therapy (a talk therapy) once a week for 8 weeks 3) a random assignment (50% chance) to either placebo or fluoxetine for 8 weeks. All participants will be seen approximately weekly for 8 weeks by a doctor to talk and complete verbal and written exercises. Blood samples will be drawn for laboratory tests before drug treatment and after it ends.

Those who have not improved by the end of the study will be offered other treatment for 1 to 3 months, and the clinicians will help with finding subsequent aftercare. Those who improve with treatment will continue therapy at NIH until an outside physician is able to assume responsibility for monitoring medication.

To find out if you qualify, email NIMH or call 1-301-402-8225 [TTY: 1-866-411-1010].

Join a Research Study: Disruptive Mood Dysregulation (DMDD)

Psychological Treatments for Youth with DMDD

This is a study to find out whether non-drug interventions can be effective for children who are very irritable. The two interventions are Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) (a kind of “talking therapy”) and Interpretation Bias Training (IBT) (a computer-based training). The purpose of this research is to learn whether these interventions will decrease irritability and temper outbursts in children with Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder (DMDD). Compared to their peers, children with DMDD display chronic anger and irritability. They often have extreme responses, such as severe temper tantrums, when they become frustrated or when parents or teachers set limits on their behavior. Children ages 8 to 17 with DMDD who live within 50 miles of Bethesda Marylandmay be eligible to participate in this study. Children do not need to be on medication to participate in this study. Those who are currently receiving medications will remain on them throughout the study.

Participants may choose to participate in only CBT, only IBT, or IBT followed by CBT.

During CBT, children and their families participate in 12-16 outpatient sessions over up to 16 weeks. The study seeksto evaluate techniques and strategies to manage and reduce irritability and temper outbursts. The treatment includes practicing strategies at home between treatment sessions.

IBT is a 14-15 week computer-based learning program. It has three phases, each of which includes some outpatient visits and some computer use at home.

  • In Phase I, children participate in 18 days of initial training. Some of these training sessions are done in the clinic at the NIH and some are done at home. There are two different trainings—“active” and “not active.” The child’s assignment to “active” or “not-active” training in this phase is made randomly—like flipping a coin.
  • In Phase II children come to the NIH weekly eight times and complete training sessions. During this time, they continue to receive the same “active” or “not-active” training.
  • In Phase III, which lasts for 18 days, all children receive “active” training, and training sessions are done in the NIH clinic and at home, in the same manner as Phase I. Children and their families will be informed about which training group they were in when all the participants have completed the entire study.

All procedures associated with the research are provided at no cost to participants, and transportation expenses are reimbursed by NIMH.

To find out if you qualify, email NIMH or call 1-301-496-8381 [TTY: 1-866-411-1010].

Join a Research Study: Irritability

Psychological Treatments for Youth with Severe Irritability

This is a study to find out whether non-drug interventions can be effective for children who are very irritable. The two interventions are Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) (a kind of “talking therapy”) and Interpretation Bias Training (IBT) (a computer-based training). The purpose of this research is to learn whether these interventions will decrease irritability and temper outbursts in children with Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder (DMDD). Compared to their peers, children with DMDD display chronic anger and irritability. They often have extreme responses, such as severe temper tantrums, when they become frustrated or when parents or teachers set limits on their behavior. Children ages 8 to 17 with DMDD who live within 50 miles of Bethesda Marylandmay be eligible to participate in this study. Children do not need to be on medication to participate in this study. Those who are currently receiving medications will remain on them throughout the study.

Participants may choose to participate in only CBT, only IBT, or IBT followed by CBT.

During CBT, children and their families participate in 12-16 outpatient sessions over up to 16 weeks. The study seeksto evaluate techniques and strategies to manage and reduce irritability and temper outbursts. The treatment includes practicing strategies at home between treatment sessions.

IBT is a 14-15 week computer-based learning program. It has three phases, each of which includes some outpatient visits and some computer use at home.

  • In Phase I, children participate in 18 days of initial training. Some of these training sessions are done in the clinic at the NIH and some are done at home. There are two different trainings—“active” and “not active.” The child’s assignment to “active” or “not-active” training in this phase is made randomly—like flipping a coin.
  • In Phase II children come to the NIH weekly eight times and complete training sessions. During this time, they continue to receive the same “active” or “not-active” training.
  • In Phase III, which lasts for 18 days, all children receive “active” training, and training sessions are done in the NIH clinic and at home, in the same manner as Phase I. Children and their families will be informed about which training group they were in when all the participants have completed the entire study.

All procedures associated with the research are provided at no cost to participants, and transportation expenses are reimbursed by NIMH.

To find out if you qualify, email NIMH or call 1-301-496-8381 [TTY: 1-866-411-1010].