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Take part in research

Help drive forward our understanding of mental health by getting involved in research today. 

You can be a part of the movement to transform mental health, whilst potentially gaining access to new treatments and therapies that could improve your own mental health. Below you'll find the current opportunities to take part in research  across the country (and online). To be the first to hear about new opportunities, sign up to our newsletter (at the bottom of this page).

If you're a researcher looking to feature your study, complete this quick form, and we will be in touch to tell you more. 

Single-session combination treatment for panic disorder

Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) is an effective talking treatment for anxiety disorders, but courses are long and difficult to access. However, we have recently shown that even a single session of CBT already has an effect on anxiety. On the other hand, research has shown that a simple blood pressure medication called losartan can improve cognition and memory.

In this study, we would like to test whether combining a single-session of CBT with losartan can improve effects on anxiety, and what the underlying brain mechanisms of such an enhancement effect are. It is hoped that the knowledge gained from this study will contribute to the improvement of treatment for people who experience distressing panic attacks and anxiety disorders.

Lithium vs Quetiapine for Depression (LQD Study)

We aim to compare the effectiveness of quetiapine and lithium in people with treatment resistant depression.

The study is aimed at people who are struggling with depression, who are currently taking antidepressants that don't seem to be working for them. 

After checking for eligibility, participants will be randomised to quetiapine or lithium, which they will take alongside their current antidepressant for as long as is right for them. The study would want to follow participants up for 12 months, and there will be 4 or 5 meetings throughout the year with the researcher to assess how things are going.

Can brief mental exercises change the way the brain processes certain kinds of information?

In this study, we investigate the effects that different brief mental exercises can have on the way the brain processes certain kinds of information.

In order to do so, we will assign each participant in the study a set of brief mental exercises and ask them to carry these out each evening over the course of seven days. After a participant has completed their exercises for seven days, we will then test their performance on a number of computerized psychological tests that measure their reactions to different stimuli.

We hope that the results of this study will help us and other researchers to better understand the psychological effects of specific mental exercises, and how these treatments might be employed to help those with mental illness.

MINDEP

There is a growing body of evidence suggesting that inflammation of the brain and central nervous system is linked to multiple mental health issues, including major depressive disorder (MDD). The purpose of this study is to see if adding a course of anti-inflammatory medication (minocycline) or a placebo (sugar pill) alongside a current course of antidepressant treatment (SSRI medications) can help to reduce depressive symptoms in MDD that has not responded treatment with antidepressants alone.

BIODEP (The Biomarkers in Depression Study)

The Biomarkers in Depression Study (BIODEP) involves volunteers both with and without depression. The aim of the study is to find biomarkers for depression.

In the study, we will be collecting blood and saliva samples. These will be analysed to look for genetic biomarkers, as well as other measures of the body’s immune system, such as C-reactive protein (CRP). We will also look at magnetic resonance images (MRI) of the brain to see if there are differences between people with more or less inflammation in the body.

Some people will go on to have further brain imaging - a positron emission topography (PET) scan. Some people will opt to come in for Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF) sampling. This will give critical information about the effect of inflammation on the brain.

The co-development of sensory reactivity and mental health symptoms in autistic children

Many autistic children perceive the sensory world around us differently. Some autistic children for example are overwhelmed by sounds. This can make everyday situations challenging. Being overly sensitive has also been linked to anxiety. This project will explore if sensory reactivity can predict later anxiety and related mental health symptoms.

To do so we will follow autistic children for two years, starting at age four. We will ask caregivers questions about their child’s anxiety level and how their child reacts to the sensory world around them. We will also observe children’s reactions towards sensory stimuli directly, such as different sounds. Understanding sensory processing and the relationship to anxiety better will help us to understand autistic children and their needs better. 

Effects of dopamine on decision-making in depression

We are recruiting healthy, depressed, recovered and people with first-degree relatives with depression.

The study involves three sessions. The first session takes 1-2 hours, we will do some interviews and questionnaires asking you about your mood, past experience of mental health and family history. The second and third sessions have the same structure: you will drink a drink containing either placebo/LDOPA, then you will wait one hour, we will take a blood sample and you will complete some computer games.

Please email if you have any questions, we will be happy to answer them.

Studying Autism and ADHD Risks (STAARS)

STAARS is part of the British Autism Study of Infant Siblings (BASIS), a UK-wide network of researchers. Our aim is to learn more about the early development of baby brothers and sisters of children with autism and/or ADHD. We hope our studies will in the long-term help to improve diagnosis of children with autism and ADHD and make it possible to design earlier and more effective interventions.

Infant participants visit our Babylab in London to complete short screen-based tasks such as watching faces or colourful animations and take part in interactive play sessions. If you are pregnant, or have a baby between 0 - 10 months AND have an older child who has been diagnosed with autism and/or ADHD, please contact us for more information.

Tackling inequalities and discrimination experiences in health services

The Tackling Inequalities and Discrimination Experiences in health Services (TIDES) survey will investigate how discrimination experienced by both patients and healthcare practitioners may generate and perpetuate inequalities in health service use. As part of this, the TIDES team is currently conducting a survey which aims to understand how discrimination witnessed and experienced by healthcare practitioners is related to job satisfaction and mental well-being, and how this may contribute to inequalities in health service use. The results of this study will aid future policies and improvements to health services that will help both healthcare practitioners and people in the community.

Parents' experiences of trauma

The current online study is aiming to understand how trauma exposure and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) symptoms may impact on parenting behaviour and the family dynamic.

The study requires you to be a parent, and to have experienced a traumatic event (more than four weeks ago), in which you felt your own life was in danger, or the life of someone else was in danger.

The survey will ask for your name, but this is to ensure you are not a robot. If you complete the survey, your name will immediately be replaced by an ID number, ensuring your anonymity. If you are uncomfortable writing your full name, first name only or initials are fine.

The ultimate goal is to help provide more tailored support to parents and their families following trauma. Thank you in advance for your help!

Shifting brain excitation/inhibition balance in autism spectrum

Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC) has highly diverse clinical presentations but also diverse possible biological causes. Research suggests that both core and co-occurring conditions might be partially due to an imbalance in two key brain molecules, glutamate and GABA. 

In this project we will measure the brain response before and after a single dose of a drug that acts in the GABA part of this system. We will use safe neuroimaging brain scans and also ask participants to perform simple tasks out of the scanner whilst recording their brain activity using a cap with sensors. 

We will ask the participants to come for 3 visits to King's College, Denmark Hill campus, London.

STOP PTSD

Research indicates that several forms of psychological therapy are effective for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but it is unclear how they should be best delivered. You are invited to participate in a study comparing two different types of internet-delivered therapy for PTSD. Both therapies involve working through a therapy programme online, with guidance from a therapist via secure messaging and telephone calls, for three months. A total of 175 patients for whom the treatment is suitable will be taking part in the study.

National centre for mental health

We are investigating the factors that may lead to the development of mental health problems, from genetics and biology to psychological and environmental factors.

Taking part is easy: it involves completing an online survey which asks about your contact details and some personal information, like your ethnicity and date of birth. There are also questions about your mental and physical health, as well as your lifestyle. It should take around 10-15 minutes to complete and all the information you provide is confidential. 

Depending on the information you provide, for example, where you live or the diagnoses you’ve received, we may contact you about arranging a one-to-one interview with one of our researchers to help us collect more detailed information about your experiences.

Ebselen as an add-on treatment in hypo/mania

Lithium is an effective prophylactic drug for patients with bipolar disorder. However, it is not well tolerated, requires regular monitoring & has a narrow therapeutic index. Identifying a drug that has the same action but is better tolerated & safer would be advantageous. Lithium has a number of possible therapeutic targets but there is good evidence that lithium's inhibition of inositol monophosphatase (IMPase) is a key mechanism in its effects. In this study we propose to test ebselen, as a potential lithium-mimetic through its ability to inhibit IMPase. Ebselen has been shown in both animal and humans to lower inositol levels. The present study of ebselen is an 'add-on' treatment in patients with hypo/mania. 60 patients will be randomised to ebselen or matching placebo for 3 weeks.

Aligning Dimensions of Interoceptive Experience (ADIE) to prevent anxiety in autism

Interoception is the ability to sense internal changes in the body such as heart rate. Some of our recent work has shown anxiety can be increased if there is a discrepancy between how well patients feel they can interpret bodily signals, such as their heartbeat, and how well they are actually able to do this. We have found that helping people to be more aware of their ability, and to increase their ability to interpret signals from the body helps reduce and may prevent anxiety symptoms. We will compare a new treatment, Aligning Dimensions of Interoceptive Experience (ADIE), against the current treatment in individuals with ASC (autism spectrum conditions). In a subset of participants we will use state of the art neuroimaging to investigate the brains physiological response to ADIE therapy.

 

Brain inflammation study

About one third of patients with depression do not benefit from current treatments and they often have increased levels of peripheral inflammatory biomarkers. To identify new therapeutic targets, it is crucial to investigate the inflammatory system role in the pathogenesis of depression. A possible mechanism may be the association between peripheral inflammation and inflammation in the brain. This study investigates whether increased peripheral immune activation due to administration of peripheral immune challenge, interferon-alpha 2a, can cause temporary immune activation in the brain of healthy volunteers. So, peripheral (blood samples) and central (PET imaging) inflammation measures will be collected before and after interferon-alpha administration, in 5 healthy participants attending 3 visits.

After having checked participants' health status on the first visit, we will inject a substance that has been safely used for many years in research studies to study inflammation in people. This will cause a temporary inflammation in the body which will last only few hours. We will take some pictures of the brain (using MRI and PET) before and after this injection and take small samples of blood to understand if inflammation in the body is associated with inflammation in the brain. Participants will also be asked a few questions regarding their well-being, mood, and their quality of life. This will involve an interview with a psychology/psychiatry trained researcher, filling in a few simple questionnaires. 

The effect of SSRIs on threat of shock potentiated neural circuitry

14 - 21 day treatment (depending on your availability) with the antidepressant Escitalopram or Placebo tablet.

The study involves three sessions:

  • Session 1 – This is an eligibility check session. We conduct a series of interviews that discuss your mood, experiences that you may or may not have had as well as some drug and alcohol use. We also do an ECG in this session to check that your heart is fine.
  • Session 2 – You will do some behavioural tasks 2 out of the scanner and 3 in the MRI scanner. Two of these tasks will involve threat of shock, where you will be given random electric shocks. These shocks are uncomfortable but NOT painful. After this session you will be given the medication which will either be the drug or placebo, you will then go away for 14-21 days (depending on your availability and take the medication once a day.
  • Session 3 – After the 14-21 days you will come back in and do the exact same session as session 2.

INTERSTAARS

The aim of the INTERSTAARS study is to find out whether a new computer-based training programme can help to improve attention skills in babies who have a family member with ADHD. The INTERSTAARS study involves four visits to our Babylab in London, and home- based visits from our research team. The study is a randomised controlled trial, meaning that some babies in the study will receive the attention training, and some babies will not. We can then test the effects of the training by comparing attention skills in babies who do and do not receive the training. If you have a baby under 14 months old, and their parent or older sibling has diagnosed ADHD or hyperactive characteristics, please feel free to contact us for more information.

 

Healing the Wounds: Exploring the views of support needs of caregivers for young people who self-harm

Deliberate self-harm (DSH) among young people is becoming an increasingly concerning public health problem. DSH among young people is progressively concerning in the Western world, becoming the focal point of many policies and professional practice. It can have rippling effects on the family, especially parents and carers. Parents often describe feeling of anxiousness, guilt, frustration, isolation expressing a lack of confidence in themselves and services. More research is needed to explore the needs of parents and carers in the community as thus far, research pertaining to support for caregivers of young people who self-harm is scarce. Yet, this is vital to better understand the needs and wants of families to provide recommendations for future interventions.

Gut Hormone in Addiction Study

The Gut Hormone in Addiction () Study is investigating if certain hormones from the stomach and intestine have the potential to prevent relapse in alcohol dependence. We are examining their effects on addictive and eating behaviours, using brain scanning. We are recruiting people who have recently given up drinking alcohol (and others who are overweight or ex-smokers). We will investigate the effects of these hormones by their infusion into a vein in the arm while people undergo an MRI scan and do some simple computer tasks. They will also complete some questionnaires and have blood taken. These hormones have been used in many medical research studies before and are safe. The study involves a screening visit and 3 study visits at Hammersmith Hospital, London W12 over 2 months.

Jumping to conclusions

This study aims to explore the interactions between daytime preferences (do you like to wake early and go to bed early or do you prefer to sleep late and go to bed late), sleep quality, mood, feelings and experiences and decision making.  During this survey you will be invited to complete a number of questionnaires that assess your sleep patterns, quality of sleep, moods, feelings and experiences. You will also be asked to complete a simple decision making task. We aim to include up to 500 participants in this study.

Parents of 2-year-olds needed to test an online questionnaire

Parents of two-year-old children are needed to help test a new online questionnaire. Questions ask parents about their child's behaviour and development, as well as their own experiences and wellbeing as a parent. At the end there are three short games for parents to play with their child online. Participants complete the questionnaire anonymously, online in their own time, and can enter our prize draw to win a £100 Mothercare and Early Learning Centre gift voucher.

This is a pilot study that is part of a larger longitudinal research project. The project aim is to understand the ways in which common mental health problems run in families - including the roles that parents play during the development of child mental health; and the impact of parenthood on adult mental health.

Moral Experiences in Everyday Life

This is a study about what young people consider to be 'good/right'and 'bad/wrong' in their daily lives. We are also interested in how these situations make young people feel.

You will receive mobile texts for 5 days with questions about your personality and emotions (Day 1) and good or bad everyday experiences (Days 2-5). Each survey takes less than 5 min!

As a thank you for taking part, you will receive a Amazon book voucher at the end of the last survey. Participants generally find it interesting to reflect on their personal experiences. The study also gives you the chance to learn about and contribute to psychological research.

Grandchildren of People with Alzheimer's Disease: Illness representations and attitudes towards genetic testing

This is a study about how young people experience having a grandparent with Alzheimer's disease. We want to know how you understand your relative's condition and your views on new techniques (e.g., genetic tests) that may one day help diagnose and predict Alzheimer's.

The study is led by the Neuroscience, Ethics and Society Group at the University of Oxford. You will meet with an interviewer from University of Oxford at either the Department of Psychiatry or a central Oxford college. The interview will take approximately 1.5 hours to complete.

Resilience to Suicidal Thoughts and behaviours in people with psychosis (ReST)

Many people experiencing mental health problems may also have suicidal thoughts and behaviours. Some are able to cope with suicidal thoughts and behaviours. We want to find out if resilience can reduce these feelings.

If you have a GP and/or are under the care of mental health services for problems with:

  • schizophrenia/non-affective psychosis, and 
  • have had suicidal thoughts or behaviours, the project may be of interest to you.

You will be asked questions about your mental health and to fill out some questionnaires about your thoughts and feelings at the beginning of the study and 3 months later. A meeting will be arranged at a time and place convenient for you or over the phone.

We are grateful of your time. A compensation will be offered at the end of each assessment point.

Determining the value of improvements in symptoms of depression

Studies of the benefits of treatment for depression employ a variety of metrics to represent the magnitude of change experienced by patients. The metrics are not consistent with one another, and they generally do not take into account the judgments of patients or those close to them. Data from this survey will inform a new metric that will reflect the perceived importance and value of different levels of improvement as judged by those who have experienced depression, either in themselves or in someone close to them. 
 
Completing the survey should take between 15 and 30 minutes. Thank you for considering participation.

Investigating maladaptive reward memory processes in young people who binge eat

Some people occasionally binge on large volumes of food and feel that they lose control over their eating. Such bingeing can cause negative thoughts, have unintended health consequences, and can also lead to more serious eating disorders such as Binge Eating Disorder. We wish to understand why some people experience this issue and whether we can develop better ways to help people reduce or manage bingeing. The latest research in psychology and neuroscience suggests that the way people learn about the rewarding aspects of food is an important factor in binge eating. Some people, for instance, find that certain "trigger foods" tend to cause bingeing. We wish to test this theory directly and assess whether trying to change unhelpful responses to foods might affect bingeing behaviours. 

Remote Assessment of Depression and Relapse - Major Depressive Disorder (RADAR-MDD)

RADAR-MDD aims to use wearable technology, such as smartphone sensors and fitness trackers, to measure symptoms of major depressive disorder and predict future relapse. We are recruiting people who have recently experienced depression to participate. Participants will be given a FitBit and asked to download some apps onto their smartphone: some apps will be used to collect information from sensors which are already in most modern smarpthone; other apps will be used for participants to answer questionnaires about their mood and social environment, or complete some cognitive tasks. For a maximum of 2-years, this data will provide insight into changes in physical activity, sleep, stress, mood, sociability, speech and cognitive function, which may be associated with future depressive relapse. 

Cognitive Remediation in Bipolar Disorder (CRiB trial)

We are investigating a new psychological therapy, called Cognitive Remediation Therapy. Our aim is to assess whether cognitive remediation can improve thinking skills and general functioning in people with bipolar disorder.

After we have verified your eligibility to take part, we would ask you to come in for 3 assessments in total (over a 6-month period), which will include a variety of tasks and questionnaires. You may also be randomly allocated to receive cognitive remediation therapy, which includes training sessions with a therapist 2 or 3 times per week for 12 weeks in South London.

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