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Children: Healthy Volunteers

Join a Research Study: Enrolling locally from the Washington, D.C. metro region

Anxiety and Attention and Emotional Memory

This 12-week 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. Study participants must be medically healthy, and free of current or past-history of psychiatric illness, and not currently taking any medication. Parent and child must consent to participate.

The study is conducted at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. First steps to participate include calling NIMH, learning study details, asking about eligibility, and consenting to participate. There is no cost to participate and compensation is provided. Call to learn more.

To find out if you qualify, email NIMH or call 1-301-827-1340 [TTY: 1-866-411-1010].

Join a Research Study: Enrolling locally from the Washington, D.C. metro region

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

The purpose of this study is to understand brain development during childhood and brain changes with aging. We will look at brain changes and development in healthy adults and children. We will also look at brain changes and development in people with different developmental disorders, including sex chromosome variations.

Previous studies have shown that parts of the brain develop at different times. They have also shown that brain development can be different in people with various diseases. However, we do not fully understand normal brain development and aging. We do not know how it differs in people with certain illnesses that affect thinking and behavior. We are just starting to understand how genes can affect brain development. This study examines the relationship between genes, brain development, and behavior throughout life.  Participants have a research testing visit at the start of the study, and again every 2 years. We will use tests including brain imaging with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). We will also use physical and psychological examination and evaluation, and genetic testing. We may also ask you to have a skin biopsy, which is described in a separate consent form. We hope that a better understanding of brain development may lead to improved prevention and treatment of mental and behavioral disorders in the future.

This study includes people in good physical health, who are over 3 years old. People in this study may be without any known psychiatric/medical conditions, or may have known conditions such as Sex Chromosome Variation, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and ADHD.

In this part of the study we are currently enrolling healthy volunteers 5-25 years old without current or past psychiatric or neurological diagnoses.

Healthy Volunteers will have an initial visit lasting about 6 hours and will be invited to return every two years. Procedures include a physical examination, a blood draw, an MRI scan of the brain, and cognitive tests of thinking, memory, and attention.  We may also ask you to have a skin biopsy.

The study is conducted at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland (just outside Washington, D.C. There is no cost to participate in this outpatient visit and compensation is provided. Children must have parental permission to participate.

To find out if you qualify, email NIMH or call 1-301-435-4516 [TTY: 1-866-411-1010].

Join a Research Study: Enrolling nationally from around the country

Healthy Volunteers to Assist in finding causes of depression in teenagers

Healthy volunteers (teens who do not have mental health diagnoses) are needed to assist investigators find causes of depression in teenagers. The study goals are to understand how the brain changes when teenagers have depression and use that knowledge to find better treatments for depression. Healthy volunteers who participate in research assist investigators by being members of a group that can be compared to a group of those who have major depression. The study will also follow participants over time as they grow up to compare those with depression to those without.

The study is recruiting both healthy volunteer participants ages 11-17, who do not have a mental health diagnosis, and those who are depressed. All participants must have a pediatrician or other medical provider, be medically healthy, and able to perform research tasks.

Study participation begins with an outpatient evaluation that includes clinical assessment, interviews, and questionnaires.

Outpatient visits for healthy volunteers may include paper-and-pencil and computer tests of mood, memory, and thinking; specialized computer games; and structural and functional brain imaging that does not use harmful radiation. If eligible, study participants may return several times a year, up to age 25.

All clinical evaluations, research tasks and visits are free of cost. Participants are compensated for research activities. Parents and teenager must agree to the teenager’s participation in research.

The studies are conducted at the NIH in Bethesda, Maryland and enroll participants from the local area and from across the United States. Transportation expenses are reimbursed by NIMH.


To find out if you qualify, email NIMH or call 1-301-827-1350 [TTY: 1-866-411-1010].

Join a Research Study: Enrolling locally from the Washington, D.C. metro region

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, call 1-301-496-9576 [TTY: 1-866-411-1010].