A team of researchers is among the first to ask if baby teeth can be used to explore if there are certain ages when being exposed to childhood adversity is even more harmful.
Division of Neurotherapeutics
149 13th Street, 10th Floor
Charlestown, MA 02129
Explore This Research Lab
Our focus is on neurotherapeutic interventions for severe, treatment-resistant psychiatric illnesses. We focus in particular on major depressive disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Our research spans mechanistic studies, clinical trials and device-based interventions employing a variety of techniques, including neuroimaging and electrophysiology. We also provide clinical services and surgical treatments for psychiatric illness.
Our work utilizes functional and structural magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), positron emission tomography (PET), electroencephalography (EEG), magnetoencephalography (MEG), transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) and deep brain stimulation (DBS) to further understanding of psychiatric illness and treatment.
Transformative Restoration of Affective Networks by Systematic, Function-oriented, Real-time Modeling and Deep Brain Stimulation (TRANSFORM DBS)
This multi-year integrated translational neuro-engineering project proposes to co-develop a new deep brain stimulation (DBS) system that actively senses a patient's brain activity, delivers electrical stimulation, and adjusts that stimulation in real time based on the brain's electrical response. These "closed loop" systems offer tremendous potential for bringing new hope to patients living with severe mental illness, especially particularly post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety and addiction.
TRANSFORM DBS will create a new generation of medical devices that actively sense a patient's brain activity, deliver electrical stimulation, then adjust that stimulation in real time based on the brain's electrical response. These "closed loop" systems offer tremendous potential for bringing new hope to patients living with severe mental illness. Learn More
EMOTE-DBS: ON/OFF Stimulation, Reward Motivation, and Impulsivity in Patients with Deep Brain Stimulators
While past studies have been successful in identifying functional and neurochemical correlates of individual differences in reward motivation and impulsivity, assessment of causal mechanisms has remained elusive due to the inherent limitations of human neuroscience methods. Here, we test the causal role of human mesolimbic circuitry in reward motivation and impulsivity by examining a cohort of patients undergoing deep brain stimulation (DBS) within the ventral striatum. We examine behavior on and off stimulation across a range of tasks that index different forms of learning and motivation.
The long-term goal of this line of research is to help identify the neural circuitry underlying motivation for positive experiences, so as to better understand the etiopathophysiology of anhedonia and motivational deficits found across numerous psychiatric patient populations.
High Resolution MRI in Cingulotomy and Capsulotomy Patients
The purpose of this study is to examine patterns of connection and activation in brain regions of patients who have received or will receive cingulotomy or capsulotomy for treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD) or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). The purpose of this investigation is to use high resolution MRI, specifically diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), as well as resting state MRI, to look at the connection patterns in patients who have been treated with cingulotomy or capsulotomy for MDD or OCD, as compared to healthy controls.
Transdiagnostic Treatment of Anxiety and Bipolar I Disorder
Currently in the analysis stage, this project seeks to investigate the feasibility and acceptability of transdiagnostic cognitive behavioral therapy with the Unified Protocol in treating a full range of anxiety and unipolar mood disorders in individuals with BP-I disorder and comorbid anxiety.
Further, the present study uses fcMRI to explore potential biomarkers of individual treatment response to this approach. By applying a transdiagnostic approach to the treatment of patients with bipolar disoder, this study may offer the possibility of treating bipolar disorder and comorbid anxiety by using a single psychosocial treatment protocol, providing a unique opportunity to investigate whether a transdiagnostic approach is also a feasible approach to treating bipolar disorder.
fMRI on the Neural Correlates of the Consciousness of Fear
The purpose of this study is to investigate the neural correlate relating to fear and how activation in these regions covaries with self-report levels of fear and galvanic skin response. In conjunction with fMRI and experimental tasks, this study also looks at the brain anatomy in patients other than the amygdala that contributes to the feeling of fear.
- Ishita Bashu, PhD
- Kristen Ellard, PhD
- Tina Chou, PhD
- Amy T. Peters, PhD
Clinical Research Coordinators
- Anish Kanabar
- Kathryn (Elie) Macadams
- Marta Migó
- Kendra Simpson
- Karianne Sretavan Wong
- Abigail Testo
M. Taha Bilge, PhD
Alik Widge, MD, PhD
Ellard KK, Gosai AG, Bernstein EE, Kaur N, Sylvia LG, Camprodon JA, Dougherty DD, Nierenberg AA, Deckersbach T. (2018). Intrinsic functional neurocircuitry associated with treatment response to transdiagnostic CBT in bipolar disorder with anxiety. Journal of Affective Disorders.
Deckersbach T, Peters AT, Shea C, Gosai A, Stange JP, Peckham AD, Ellard KK, Otto MW, Rauch SL, Dougherty DD, Nierenberg AA. (2018). Memory performance predicts response to psychotherapy for depression in bipolar disorder: A pilot randomized controlled trial with exploratory functional magnetic resonance imaging. Journal of Affective Disorders.
Widge AS, Ellard KK, Paulk AC, Basu I, Yousefi A, Zorowitz S, Gilmour A, Afzal A, Deckersbach T, Cash SS, Kramer MA, Eden UT, Dougherty DD, Eskandar EN. (2017). Treating refractory mental illness with close-loop brain stimulation: Progress towards a patient-specific transdiagnostic approach. Experimental Neurology.
Taha Bilge M, Gosai AK, Widge AS. (2018). Deep Brain Stimulation in Psychiatry: Mechanisms, Models, and Next-Generation Therapies. Psychiatric Clinics of North America.
Dougherty DD, Chou T, Corse AK, Arulpragasam AR, Widge AS, Cusin C, Evans KC, Greenberg BD, Haber SN, Deckersbach T. (2016). Acute deep brain stimulation changes in regional cerebral blood flow in obsessive-compulsive disorder. Journal of Neurosurgy.
Widge, A. S., Zorowitz, S., Link, K., Miller, E. K., Deckersbach, T., Eskandar, E. N., & Dougherty, D. D. (2015). Ventral Capsule/Ventral Striatum Deep Brain Stimulation Does Not Consistently Diminish Occipital Cross-Frequency Coupling. Biological Psychiatry.
Widge, A. S., Arulpragasam, A. R., Deckersbach, T., & Dougherty, D. D. (2015). Deep brain stimulation for psychiatric disorders. Emerging trends in the social and behavioral sciences: An interdisciplinary, searchable, and linkable resource.
Widge, A.S., Deckersbach, T., Eskandar, E. N. & Dougherty, D. D. Deep Brain Stimulation for Treatment-Resistant Psychiatric Illnesses: What Has Gone Wrong and What Should We Do Next? Biological Psychiatry. 2015 Jun 10.
Widge, A. S., & Dougherty, D. D. (2015). Deep Brain Stimulation for Treatment-Refractory Mood and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders. Current Behavioral Neuroscience Reports, 2(4), 187-197.
Nierenberg, A., Peters, A., Stange, J., Sylvia, L.G., Otto, M.W., Miklowitz, D.J., Dougherty, D.D., Deckerbach, T. Neural predictors of response to psychotherapy for depression in bipolar disorder. Bipolar Disorders. 17(47-47), 2015.
Makris, N., Rathi, Y., Mouradian, P., Bonmassar, G., Papadimitriou, G., Ing, W. I., ... & Dougherty, D. D. (2015). Variability and anatomical specificity of the orbitofrontothalamic fibers of passage in the ventral capsule/ventral striatum (VC/VS): precision care for patient-specific tractography-guided targeting of deep brain stimulation (DBS) in obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Brain imaging and behavior, 1-14.
Dougherty, D. D., Rezai, A. R., Carpenter, L. L., Howland, R. H., Bhati, M. T., O’Reardon, J. P., ... & Malone, D. A. (2014). A Randomized Sham-Controlled Trial of Deep Brain Stimulation of the Ventral Capsule/Ventral Striatum for Chronic Treatment-Resistant Depression. Biological psychiatry.
Malone, D. A., Dougherty, D. D., Rezai, A. R., Carpenter, L. L., Friehs, G. M., Eskandar, E. N., ... & Greenberg, B. D. (2009). Deep brain stimulation of the ventral capsule/ventral striatum for treatment-resistant depression. Biological psychiatry, 65(4), 267-275.
Corse, A. K., Chou, T., Arulpragasam, A. R., Kaur, N., & Cusin, C. (2013). Deep brain stimulation for obsessive-compulsive disorder. Psychiatric Annals,43(8), 351.
Kaur, N., Chou, T., Corse, A. K., Arulpragasam, A. R., Deckersbach, T., & Evans, K. C. (2013). Deep brain stimulation for treatment-resistant depression. Psychiatric Annals, 43(8), 358.
- Press Release
- Dec | 17 | 2019
A team of scientists from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) has developed a software-based method of scanning electronic health records (EHRs) to estimate the risk that a healthy person will receive a dementia diagnosis in the future.
- Press Release
- Dec | 12 | 2019
In the largest-ever study of its kind researchers identified more than 100 genetic variants that affect the risk for more than one mental health condition.
- Press Release
- Nov | 26 | 2019
Experiences of discrimination are associated with increased distress and lead to both diminished quality of life and a decrease in resources needed to successfully sustain recovery.
- Staff Story
- Nov | 1 | 2019
The Department of Psychiatry welcomed Maurizio Fava, MD, as the new leader of the department on October 1. Dr. Fava reflects on his outlook as he takes over as chair of the department.
- Press Release
- Oct | 15 | 2019
A team led by Massachusetts General Hospital researchers report that mindfulness meditation appears to help extinguish fearful associations.
Pioneering Neuroscience Research
As a world leader in medical discovery and patient care, Mass General Neuroscience brings together the expansive expertise and passion from our Psychiatry, Neurosurgery and Neurology Departments. Through Advances in Motion, we provide health care professionals with information about our latest breakthroughs, research and clinical advances.