Clinical Research

Depression Treatment Studies: At the Depression Clinical and Research Program, the following treatment studies are currently under way, and seeking participants.

The DCRP is currently conducting cutting edge research in the area of depression, with a focus on testing novel antidepressant treatments and on developing new tools to understand the biological changes that occur in this condition.

If any of these studies interest you, please call us at 1-877-552-5837.


Depression Study

Are you depressed, sad or blue?
Interested in trying mindfulness meditation or relaxation methods?

The Massachusetts General Hospital is conducting a clinical research study evaluating the effects on the brain of two different 8-week programs for people suffering from depression.

The MBCT training program consists in weekly classes that combine cognitive therapy with mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness meditation cultivates present moment awareness to approach thoughts and feelings in a non-judgmental, self-compassionate, and overall accepting way.

The PRT-PsyEd training program includes two components: Progressive Relaxation Training (PRT) and psychoeducation (PsyEd), two methods widely used in psychotherapy to better manage stress and learn how it relates to depression.

If you are aged 21-65, and have no (or limited) previous experience with meditation, you may be eligible for this study.

If eligible, you will receive either the 8-week Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy program or the 8-week PRT-PsyEd program, including all course materials, at no cost to you. This study requires that you participate in a 2.5-hour class once a week for 8 weeks. In addition, you will be asked to practice at home the exercises taught in class, on a daily basis, for the full duration of the course (8 weeks). This study also involves up to 7 visits to the Massachusetts General Hospital, including two brain scans using functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI).

For more information and to check your eligibility, please email or call us at 617-643-5078.

Anxiety Study

Do you suffer from symptoms of anxiety? We are looking for volunteers for a research study to determine the effects of genes, behavior, and the brain on anxiety. You may eligible if you suffer from symptoms of anxiety, are between 18 and 40 years old, are not pregnant or planning to become pregnant, and do not have:

  • A history of bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or psychotic disorders
  • A serious medical illness, including seizure disorder
  • Any reason that you cannot have an MRI, including recent head trauma or metal/piercings that cannot be removed

This study involves:

  • 1 visit to the MGH Main Campus for a clinical interview, DNA sample collection (saliva), and urine sample collection (approximately 3 hours)
  • 1 visit to the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging for an fMRI and self-report questionnaires (approximately 3.5 hours)
  • Optional supplemental survey that can be completed at home

You will receive up to $225 in compensation after completion of the study. Validation for parking may be provided.

For more information, please call Katie at 617-724-9458.

Double-blind, Proof-of-Concept Trial of Low Field Magnetic Stimulation (LFMS) Augmentation of Antidepressant Therapy in Treatment-Resistant Depression
Are you taking an antidepressant but still feeling sad or depressed?

Are you interested in novel treatments for your depression?

If so, you may be eligible to participate in a research study using Low Frequency Magnetic Stimulation to treat depression being conducted at Massachusetts General Hospital. LFMS is safe and painless.

We are studying the ability of LFMS to act as a quick acting treatment for depression.

Treatment visits will take place every weekday for 4 days. Then you will come in once a week for 4 weeks. We can pay you $20 for each visit you make to our clinic and validate your parking.

Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial of Ketamine Therapy in Treatment-Resistant Depression (TRD)
Are you taking an antidepressant that is not working for you? You may be eligible to participate in a research study at the Depression Clinical and Research Program at Massachusetts General Hospital. The study is to find out if ketamine is effective in treating Major Depressive Disorder when combined with antidepressants for adults who have not responded to treatment with antidepressants.If you are eligible, we will ask you to make 8 study visits to MGH. You will be randomly assigned to receive a single intravenous dose of ketamine or placebo.

You will be paid up to $350 for your time and effort if you complete all parts of the study. If you are interested in participating, please contact Mariana Cohen at 617-726-3129 or at

Group Treatment for Spanish-Speaking Patients with Diabetes
This study is investigating whether a group treatment using elements of support, problem-solving treatment and information can help improve diabetes outcomes and well-being in Spanish-speaking patients with diabetes. READ MORE

Tratamiento Grupal para Pacientes de habla Hispana con Diabetes Tipo II
Este estudio está investigando si un tratamiento grupal que usa elementos de apoyo, y tratamiento e información para la resolución de problemas puede ayudar a mejorar el pronóstico de la diabetes y el bienestar en pacientes de habla hispana con Diabetes Tipo II. READ MORE

Investigating the effects of antidepressants and placebo on serotonin circuitry in Major Depression.
This study investigates the effects of antidepressant and placebo on the serotonin levels in the brain. After 4 to 8 weeks of treatment with antidepressant or placebo the subjects who are improved undergo a day of special diet that lowers temporarily the level of serotonin in the brain and a PET scan.

Collaborative Study: Testosterone Antidepressant Augmentation in Women
This study is to find out whether taking a low-dose of testosterone will improve depressive symptoms in women with major depressive disorder. READ MORE

Hot Yoga for the Treatment of Depressive Symptoms
The purpose of this research study is to examine the effectiveness of hot yoga as an alternative treatment for depressive symptoms. Hot yoga is a form of yoga that takes place in a heated room and combines strength training, stretching, meditation, and breathing techniques. READ MORE

Effectiveness and Acceptability of MoodGYM in Treating Depressive Symptoms in Chinese Americans
This study seeks to examine the efficacy and acceptability of MoodGYM for Chinese people with depressive symptoms. MoodGYM is a publicly-available online CBT program developed by the Centre for Mental Health Research at The Australian National University. Read More

Evaluating changes in resting state networks before and after a Tai Chi training Intervention for Chinese Americans with depression
The primary purpose of this pilot study is to provide preliminary estimates of the neurophysiological effects of Tai Chi on major depressive disorder (MDD) in a group of Chinese speaking immigrant patients using fMRI resting state measures. This study is aimed at elucidating changes in brain functional connectivity that results from Tai Chi practice. It may contribute to our understanding of a potential therapy for an important underserved population: less acculturated Chinese immigrants who do not tend to seek mental health services when they are depressed.

EMBARC: Establishing Moderators and Biosignatures of Antidepressant Response for Clinical Care
This study investigates which antidepressant might work best and cause the fewest side effects for someone with depression.

Ketamine Infusion for Treatment-resistant Major Depressive Disorder with Suicidal Ideation: 
The purpose of this study is to test whether repeated use of intravenous ketamine, in addition to ongoing antidepressant treatment, improves symptoms of depression and suicidal ideation in patients who have not improved adequately on different antidepressant medication.

Help for sadness and excessive drinking in college students:
In this study, we are investigating new and effective therapy treatments for college students who experience depressive symptoms and drink excessively. We are comparing two different treatment courses, both of which consist of 8 sessions with a counselor and are provided at no cost. Participants will be compensated for their time.
Please note: This study is only open for targeted populations.


Comparison of Illness Beliefs of Depressed Caucasian and Chinese American Individuals
This is a study to learn about how depressed people from different cultural backgrounds understand their symptoms. READ MORE

Neural and Genetic Basis of Negative Valence Traits
The purpose of this study is to advance our understanding of how behavior, genes, and the brain contribute to anxiety and difficulties that people with anxiety often experience. To do this, we are looking at brain imaging and genetic differences in people with and without anxiety symptoms. READ MORE

Cortical GABA (Gamma-AminoButyric Acid) in MDD (Major Depressive Disorder)/Insomnia Study:
The purpose of this study is to understand the neurochemical mechanisms underlying insomnia in individuals with and without depression. We will assess a group with no insomnia and no depression, a group with insomnia without depression, a group with depression without insomnia and a group with depression and insomnia. In this way, we hope to determine whether GABA abnormalities in MDD are related to insomnia or the mood state. READ MORE

National Network of Depression Centers’ Clinical Care Registry:
In this research study, we are helping to form the first-ever national database on depression symptoms and treatment outcomes. Both research and clinical patients can take part in this study, by filling out questionnaires on their mood during their visits to the DCRP.