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Transforming the understanding
and treatment of mental illnesses.

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Depression, Experimental ECT and Brain Imaging

Join a Research Study: Enrolling nationally from around the country

To find out if you qualify, email the study team ( or call 1-301-435-0885 [TTY: 711].

This research study is testing a new type of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) to see if it is a safe and effective method to rapidly reduce and treat depression. With this new type of ECT we decrease the strength of the electric pulse to see if that causes less memory side effects than regular ECT.  We use brain imaging to better understand how the new treatment affects the brain and how this relates to changes in depression or memory.

This inpatient study is enrolling adults with major depressive disorder, ages 22-70. Participants will be free of other serious medical conditions and have tried other treatments and failed to improve. Research participation is 4- to 12-weeks and includes 7 sessions of the experimental ECT, brain imaging, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) assessment, and memory and thinking assessments. All research participants will receive 10-12 sessions of regular ECT after the experimental ECT part is over.

The study is conducted at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, MD. There is no cost to participate and compensation is provided. This study enrolls eligible participants from across the USA. Travel arrangements are provided, and costs are covered by NIMH (arrangements vary by distance). After completing the study, participants receive short-term follow-up care at the NIH while transitioning back to a provider.

To find out if you qualify, email the study team ( or call 1-301-435-0885 [TTY: 711].

Study Identifiers

  • NIMH Protocol Number: 19M0073
  • Study Number: 03895658