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Featured Studies

Featured studies include only those currently recruiting participants. Studies with the most recent start date appear first.

  • Procedures for Sample Acquisition and Distribution for The Human Brain Collection Core
    Study Type: Observational
    Start Date: February 20, 2018
    Location: Bethesda, Maryland
    Eligibility: Ages N/A–120, Does Not Accept Healthy Volunteers


    The Human Brain Collection Core (HBCC) collects brain and other tissues. They get these from deceased people who may or may not have had psychiatric disorders. The next of kin gives permission for researchers to get the tissues. Researchers want to collect medical details of people whose brains are donated. They also want to use the donated tissue to study brain chemistry and structure. This could lead to better treatments for mental illness.


    To create a collection of human brain tissue to learn about the causes and mechanisms of mental disorders.


    People willing to donate their deceased relative s brain tissue. The deceased person could not have had any of the following:

    Severe mental retardation

    Long-lasting seizure disorder

    Infections that affect the brain


    Brain damage

    Being on a respirator for more than 12 hours

    Major sepsis

    Serious renal or hepatic disease

    Certain dementias and degenerative diseases


    Medical Examiner s Offices will screen donors who have recently died. Some others will be screened by hospitals or funeral homes.

    Participants will be the next of kin. They will give consent for HBCC to obtain brain tissue from the deceased person. The tissue will be frozen for future research.

    Participants will have a 30-minute phone call. They will answer questions about the deceased person s medical and psychiatric conditions. They will answer questions about the person s use of medicines and drugs.

    Participants will be contacted by a social worker. They will be asked for permission to access the deceased person s medical records.

  • Testing a New Device to Advance the Use of Social Skills Training With Mental Health Consumers and Clinicians
    Study Type: Interventional
    Start Date: January 2, 2018
    Location: Needham, Massachusetts
    Eligibility: Ages 21 and Older, Accepts Healthy Volunteers

    This study aims to test a new device called the Social Skills Coach that is being created to help mental health consumers with social skills and community functioning. People diagnosed with schizophrenia and clinicians will be included as participants in this study. Mental health consumers (diagnosed with schizophrenia) will be randomly assigned to either test the new device or to participate in a social skills training course. Data will be collected from participants through surveys before participants either use the device or participate the course and afterwards. Individual interviews will be conducted with a sub sample of mental health consumers and clinicians. The study looks to test the credibility and acceptability of the new device to help mental health consumers and clinicians. it will also influence future research.

  • Targeting Auditory Hallucinations With Alternating Current Stimulation
    Study Type: Interventional
    Start Date: November 14, 2017
    Location: Chapel Hill, North Carolina
    Eligibility: Ages 18–70, Does Not Accept Healthy Volunteers

    Investigating the effects of non-invasive transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS) as a treatment for auditory hallucinations in patients with schizophrenia.

  • Virtual Reality Job Interview Training in Severe Mental Illness
    Study Type: Interventional
    Start Date: June 1, 2017
    Location: Chicago, Illinois
    Eligibility: Ages 18–55, Does Not Accept Healthy Volunteers

    This is a randomized controlled trial to evaluate the community-based effectiveness of virtual reality job interview training (VR-JIT). Northwestern University is partnering with Thresholds Inc. to evaluate the effectiveness of VR-JIT at improving interviewing skills and access to employment. In addition, we will evaluate the cost effectiveness of VR-JIT and the process for implementing VR-JIT at Thresholds.

  • Clinical Trial of AVL-3288 in Schizophrenia Patients
    Study Type: Interventional
    Start Date: November 1, 2016
    Location: New York, New York
    Eligibility: Ages 18–50, Does Not Accept Healthy Volunteers

    Single-center, outpatient, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, 3-treatment-phase, cross-over study to evaluate the safety, tolerability and efficacy of two oral doses of AVL-3288 each compared to placebo, in patients with schizophrenia.

  • Targeting Stress Reactivity in Schizophrenia: Integrated Coping Awareness Therapy
    Study Type: Interventional
    Start Date: October 3, 2016
    Locations: Carrboro, North Carolina; Raleigh, North Carolina
    Eligibility: Ages 15–35, Does Not Accept Healthy Volunteers

    To test the feasibility of a clinical trial implementing I-CAT, a novel therapeutic intervention combining strategies to improve stress reactivity and increase meaningful coping, as well as a range of possible proximal (e.g. autonomic, endocrine, immune indices of stress reactivity, symptom severity) and distal measures (function, relapse, quality of life) for 40 people with first episode psychosis in the context of a small randomized controlled trial.

  • Treatment of Social Cognition in Schizophrenia Trial
    Study Type: Interventional
    Start Date: March 1, 2015
    Locations: Los Angeles, California; Chicago, Illinois; Minneapolis, Minnesota
    Eligibility: Ages 18–65, Does Not Accept Healthy Volunteers

    This study is a multi-site, prospective, parallel arm, double-blind, randomized, controlled clinical trial to assess the efficacy of an experimental software program targeting social cognitive abilities versus a computer-based software control. Both the study and the software being investigated meet the criteria of Non-Significant Risk.

  • Targeted Cognitive Training in Clinical High Risk (CHR) for Psychosis
    Study Type: Interventional
    Start Date: March 1, 2015
    Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts
    Eligibility: Ages 15–30, Does Not Accept Healthy Volunteers

    This project is a randomized-controlled trial to test the efficacy of computer-based targeted cognitive training (TCT) versus a placebo intervention of commercial computer games in adolescent/young adults at clinical high risk (CHR) for psychosis. TCT is designed to optimize learning-induced neuroplasticity in vulnerable neurocognitive systems. A main aim is to test the hypothesis that this neuroscience-guided TCT intervention will improve neural function, and that these neural improvements will improve cognition and functional outcome. CHR participants will be randomly assigned to 40 hours of TCT or placebo computer games completed within 10 weeks. TCT consists of 20 hours of training in cognition, including processing speed, memory, attention, and cognitive control followed by 20 hours of training in social cognition including affect recognition and theory of mind. Neuroimaging, cognition, social cognition, clinical symptoms, and functional status will be assessed at baseline, after 20 hours/5 weeks of cognitive training (mid-intervention), and after 20 hours/5 weeks of social-cognitive training (post-intervention). Cognition, social cognition, symptoms, and functioning will also be assessed at a 9 month follow-up (i.e. 9 months after intervention completion). We predict that TCT will lead to improvements in neurocognitive function and functional status. The results of this study will provide important information about a benign, non-pharmacological intervention for improving cognition and functional outcome in CHR individuals.

  • Tryptophan MRI in People With Schizophrenia and Healthy Controls
    Study Type: Interventional
    Start Date: September 1, 2014
    Location: Catonsville, Maryland
    Eligibility: Ages 18–55, Accepts Healthy Volunteers

    Kynurenic acid (KYNA) is a naturally occurring chemical in the brain. Studies with rodents indicate that levels of KYNA can impact levels of the neurotransmitters glutamate and dopamine. One way to reliably increase KYNA levels is by ingesting the amino acid tryptophan. Tryptophan is a normal part of the human diet. Tryptophan gets metabolized/changed to other chemicals in the body- including KYNA. By giving people 6 grams of tryptophan, the investigators will be able to increase the KYNA level in a controlled way. The investigators will then be able to study the effects of KYNA on neurotransmitters by using cognitive tests and magnetic resonance imaging techniques (measuring brain activity and brain chemistry using the MRI magnet). They will test people using tryptophan and also using a placebo to look for differences. The investigators will test healthy controls and people with schizophrenia to look for differences.

  • Neuronal Effects of Exercise in Schizophrenia
    Study Type: Interventional
    Start Date: August 1, 2014
    Location: Aurora, Colorado
    Eligibility: Ages 21–70, Does Not Accept Healthy Volunteers

    This study plans to learn more about how common drugs prescribed to individuals with schizophrenia contribute to weight gain, as well as how exercise and diet impact appetite and the brain's response to food. In this study, the investigators will be evaluating how patients' brains respond to food images as well as asking questions about their food preferences and intake and clinical symptoms. The investigators may also ask patients to complete an exercise or diet intervention to see how this changes brain responses or food preferences.

  • Psychosis and Affective Research Domains and Intermediate Phenotypes
    Study Type: Observational
    Start Date: April 1, 2014
    Location: Dallas, Texas
    Eligibility: Ages 18–60, Accepts Healthy Volunteers

    The objective of this multi-site research collaboration is to test the manifestation and distribution of biological markers for psychosis and affect dimensions across the schizophrenia/bipolar (SZ-BD) diagnostic boundary, and to examine heritability and genetic associations for these biological markers.

  • D-Cycloserine Augmentation of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Delusions
    Study Type: Interventional
    Start Date: February 1, 2014
    Locations: Baltimore, Maryland; New York, New York
    Eligibility: Ages 18–68, Does Not Accept Healthy Volunteers

    This study is a placebo-controlled 12 week trial of DCS augmentation of once-weekly CBT sessions in 60 schizophrenia subjects with antipsychotic-resistant delusions. In addition to testing efficacy, this trial will characterize DCS effects in terms of time course and persistence of response and will examine DCS effects on memory consolidation and cognitive flexibility as possible mediators of DCS enhancement of CBT for delusions.

  • A D1 Agonist For Working Memory
    Study Type: Interventional
    Start Date: April 1, 2013
    Location: New York, New York
    Eligibility: Ages 18–65, Accepts Healthy Volunteers

    The purpose of the study is to examine the effects of the administration of a drug called DAR-0100A on attention and memory in persons with schizotypal personality disorder (SPD). DAR-0100A has not been FDA approved, however in recent studies has been used to treat cognitive deficits, meaning problems in the way you organize your thinking, in people diagnosed with schizophrenia.

    Many people who carry a diagnosis of schizotypal personality disorder have trouble with attention and memory. Increasing the presence of a brain chemical called dopamine has been found to help people with schizophrenia with their attention and memory problems. This study will investigate whether the same is true for people with schizotypal personality disorder by using DAR-0100A, a drug that has been shown to help with the cognitive deficits of people with Parkinson's disease by increasing dopamine effects. Information collected in this experiment may lead to a better understanding of the brain mechanisms involved in schizotypal personality disorder and improve treatments for the psychological problems associated with this condition.

  • Oral Risperidone Versus Injectable Paliperidone Palmitate for Treating First-Episode Schizophrenia
    Study Type: Interventional
    Start Date: October 1, 2011
    Location: Los Angeles, California
    Eligibility: Ages 18–45, Accepts Healthy Volunteers

    This study will determine the efficacy of oral risperidone (Risperdal) versus long-acting injectable paliperidone palmitate (Invega Sustenna) in treating people with first-episode schizophrenia.

  • Neural Oscillations as Genetic and Functional Biomarkers in Normal and Disease States
    Study Type: Observational
    Start Date: January 1, 2011
    Location: Baltimore, Maryland
    Eligibility: Ages 14–62, Accepts Healthy Volunteers

    The principle aim of the project is to analyze brain electrical activity and genetic information that will help identify the nature and cause of the disease schizophrenia. This effort should lay the groundwork for future treatment in schizophrenic patients.

  • Imaging Cannabinoid Receptors Using Positron Emission Tomography (PET) Scanning
    Study Type: Observational
    Start Date: July 1, 2010
    Location: New Haven, Connecticut
    Eligibility: Males, Ages 18–55, Accepts Healthy Volunteers

    The aim of the present study is to assess the availability of cannabinoid receptors (CB1R) in the human brain. CB1R are present in everyone's brain, regardless of whether or not someone has used cannabis. The investigators will image brain cannabinoid receptors using Positron Emission Tomography (PET) imaging and the radioligand OMAR, in healthy individuals and several conditions including 1) cannabis use disorders, 2) psychotic disorders, 3) prodrome of psychotic illness and 4) individuals with a family history of alcoholism, using the PET imaging agent or radiotracer, [11C]OMAR. This will allow us to characterize the number and distribution of CB1R in these conditions. It is likely that the list of conditions will be expanded after the collection of pilot data and as new data on cannabinoids receptor function and psychiatric disorders becomes available.

    Those in the cannabis us disorder arm of the study will have a PET scan on at least three occasions: once while smoking as usual, once after 48-hours of abstinence from cannabis, and a final time after 4 weeks of abstinence. Additional scans may be conducted within the 4 weeks and the last scan may be conducted well beyond 4 weeks. Similarly, while most schizophrenia patients may get scanned just once, a subgroup of patients may get scanned more than once. For example to tease out the effects of medications, unmedicated patients may get scanned while unmedicated and again after treatment with antipsychotic medications. Similarly prodromes may get scanned while in the prodromal stage off medications, on medications and after conversion to schizophrenia.

  • Database Registry to Examine Brain Connections and Brain Function in Mental Disorders and Neural Network Biomarkers for Relational Memory and Psychosis in Schizophrenia
    Study Type: Observational
    Start Date: March 1, 2010
    Location: Dallas, Texas
    Eligibility: Ages 15–70, Accepts Healthy Volunteers

    Several observations have been made with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) that characterize brain connections and brain function in individuals with schizophrenia and other mental disorders. For example, research investigating schizophrenia focuses on the dysfunction of connections within and between the medial temporal lobe and the prefrontal cortex as well as other pertinent brain regions. This database registry will allow for the collection of clinical interview data, behavioral data, blood, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data, and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data on individuals with and without mental disorders to better understand how connections in the brain and various brain regions function differently while volunteers perform various cognitive tasks. This is an observational study that is being conducted to collect data and place it in a registry for current and future investigational questions related to imaging in mental disorders.

  • Functional Relevance of Dopamine Receptors in Healthy Controls and Patients With Schizophrenia: Characterization Through [11C]NNC-112 and [18F]Fallypride Positron Emission Tomography
    Study Type: Observational
    Start Date: July 17, 2009
    Location: Bethesda, Maryland
    Eligibility: Ages 18–90, Accepts Healthy Volunteers


    - Some illnesses, such as schizophrenia, have effects on brain cells called dopamine receptors, which are required for normal brain function. People with schizophrenia have difficulty thinking and experience hallucinations and delusions. Medications that change brain dopamine receptors can decrease these hallucinations and delusions.

    - The cause of schizophrenia and its association with brain dopamine receptors is not known but may be clarified by studying dopamine receptors in people who have dopamine disorders (such as schizophrenia) and those who do not. Researchers are interested in studying the dopamine system to gain a better idea of how dopamine disorders develop, which may lead to better medical care for people with schizophrenia.


    - To study the amount and distribution of two types of dopamine receptors.


    - Individuals between the ages of 18 and 60 who have schizophrenia.

    - Healthy volunteers between the ages of 18 and 90.


    - Participants will undergo a full screening, with physical and psychological history, a neurological examination, and blood and urine samples.

    - Participants will have a blood flow map of the brain recorded with a positron emission tomography (PET) brain scan. A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan will also be performed to determine brain anatomy.

    - To study the amount and distribution of dopamine receptors in the brain, participants will receive a small amount of a radioactive chemical in the vein, followed by a PET scan.

    - The procedure will be performed twice in two separate sessions, once for [18F]fallypride and once for [11C]NNC-112.

  • Examining Risk Factors for Atypical Antipsychotic Metabolic Side Effects
    Study Type: Interventional
    Start Date: October 1, 2008
    Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
    Eligibility: Ages 18–90, Does Not Accept Healthy Volunteers

    This study will examine possible causes of metabolic side effects in people taking atypical antipsychotic (AAP) medications.

  • Bilateral Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation for Auditory Hallucinations
    Study Type: Interventional
    Start Date: October 1, 2007
    Location: New Haven, Connecticut
    Eligibility: Ages 18–55, Does Not Accept Healthy Volunteers

    This trial is designed to determine if administering repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) simultaneously to two sites in the temporal lobes, one on the left and one on the right, produces greater improvements in "voices" and other symptoms of schizophrenia compared to rTMS given to just one site in the temporal lobes.

  • PET Scanning in Parkinson s Disease
    Study Type: Observational
    Start Date: September 17, 2001
    Location: Bethesda, Maryland
    Eligibility: Ages 18 and Older, Accepts Healthy Volunteers

    This is an in vivo positron emission tomography (PET) study of regional cerebral dopamine and blood flow in normal volunteers, persons with Parkinson s disease (both familial and sporadic), and those with schizophrenia spectrum disorders. The latter also sign consent for NIH approved protocol 89-M-0160, "Inpatient Evaluation of Neuropsychiatric Patients," PI: Daniel Eisenberg, M.D. Using PET with 6-[F-18] Fluoro-L-dopa (FDOPA) and (15)0-H2O in a single scan session, both presynaptic dopaminergic function and regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) are assessed. The kinetic rate constant (Ki) for presynaptic dopaminergic uptake in striatum and other regions is calculated. We compare Ki across subject groups and relate the findings to rCBF. Findings are also related to allelic variation in genes of interest, for determination of which participants sign separate consent for NIH approved protocol 95-M-0150 Neurobiological Investigation of Patients with Schizophrenia Spectrum Disorders and Their Siblings, PI: Karen F. Berman, MD. We also draw comparisons between subjects with inherited vs. sporadic Parkinson s disease to determine whether the PET phenotype is the same in both groups, and we compare system-level, circuit-based pathophysiology across PD and schizophrenia groups. Each subject is further screened with an MRI to rule out structural abnormalities and also to further delineate areas of interest in the PET scans....

  • Genetic Study of Schizophrenia
    Study Type: Observational
    Start Date: July 6, 1995
    Location: Bethesda, Maryland
    Eligibility: Ages 18 and Older, Accepts Healthy Volunteers

    This large ongoing study at NIMH investigates the neurobiology of schizophrenia by identifying susceptibility genes, evaluating their impact on brain function to better understand how to treat and prevent this illness.

  • Inpatient Evaluation of Adults With Schizophrenia
    Study Type: Observational
    Start Date: September 13, 1989
    Location: Bethesda, Maryland
    Eligibility: Ages 18 and Older, Does Not Accept Healthy Volunteers

    The purpose of this study is to understand the biologic basis of schizophrenia and to determine which symptoms are related to the illness itself and which are related to medications used to treat the illness.

    Schizophrenia and related psychoses are chronic brain disorders whose prognosis is often poor and whose pathophysiology remains obscure. Brain imaging technologies such s positron emission tomography (PET), functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) offer opportunities to study the pathophysiology of psychotic disorders by evaluating brain function. However, the use of anti-psychotic drugs may interfere with the results of such studies. In this study, psychotropic medication will be discontinued in patients for a short period of time to distinguish the effects of the illness on the brain without the interference of the medication's effects on the brain. Given that there is a risk that the patient's symptoms will increase, they are asked to stay on an inpatient unit where the NIMH clinical staff is available to help them 24 hours a day.

    This study will be conducted in three phases. In Phase 1, participants will be admitted to the Clinical Center while continuing to take their medication and will undergo diagnostic interviews, physical and laboratory assessments, physiological monitoring, and neuropsychological testing. Behavioral ratings will also be performed and blood and urine samples will be collected. During Phase 2, participants will continue taking medications in a blinded fashion for 8 to 12 weeks. The active medications will be replaced with a placebo (an inactive pill) part of that time. PET, fMRI, and MRI scans will be used to monitor how the continuation or lack of medication affects the brain. Psychological tests will also be given to measure changes in cognition. In Phase 3, participants will have the opportunity for clinical stabilization.

  • Evaluation of the Genetics of Bipolar Disorder
    Study Type: Observational
    Start Date: August 4, 1980
    Location: Bethesda, Maryland
    Eligibility: Ages 18–85, Does Not Accept Healthy Volunteers

    This study looks to identify genes that may affect a person's chances of developing bipolar disorder (BP) and related conditions.