Mood Disorder Study

About the study

We know that the biology of mood disorders is very complex. The purpose of this study is to learn more about the biology of mood disorders in youth. Specifically, we are examining the relationships between the brain, how cells work, and stress hormones in youth with and without mood disorders.


INCLUSION CRITERIA (For Adolescents with Mood Disorders):
  • Aged 13-18 years old
  • Both child and parent/guardian are fluent in English
  • Has a diagnosis of a depressive disorder, a bipolar-spectrum disorder (e.g. bipolar disorder type 1 or type 2,  or bipolar disorder not otherwise specified), or unspecified mood disorder (Patient Group)
​INCLUSION CRITERIA (For Healthy Controls):
  • No history of any psychiatric disorders.
  • No first-degree relatives with major depression, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia.
  • Past history of brain damage, a seizure disorder, increased intracranial pressure, head trauma with loss of consciousness over 15 minutes, history of stroke, mental retardation, or other serious neurological disorder
  • Braces, metal implants, or implanted medical devices
  • Claustrophobia
  • Severe or acute medical illness
  • History of current substance abuse disorder
  • Active suicidal ideation (imminent intent to attempt suicide)
  • Self-injury that requires medical attention (e.g. stitches)

Study Visits

For the first visit, you will be asked to come to the Ambulatory Research Center (ARC) at the Fairview Riverside Hospital to complete a diagnostic interview regarding your medical and psychiatric symptoms and history. Participants under the age of 18 will also be asked to have a parent/guardian attend and participate in a separate interview. The participant and parent/guardian (if applicable) will also complete a number of questionnaires. This appointment would take 3-4 hours and must occur on a Monday-Wednesday.

For this appointment, you will be asked to prepare a speech for a few minutes and perform it in front of an audience, with another task to follow. We would also have you complete a number laptop games that measure things like attention and memory. Throughout the course of this visit, we will also collect a number of saliva samples to look at a stress hormone called Cortisol. This visit would take 3-4 hours and must begin between the hours of 1:00PM and 4:00PM.

For the third visit we will have you come to the Center for Magnetic Resonance Research (CMRR) on the East Bank of the University of Minnesota Campus for a brain scan. You will lie in the MRI while the machine takes pictures of your brain. While you're in the scanner, you will be doing things like listening to music, resting, and playing a game using a button box. Before the scan, we will have you do a urine toxicology screen (drug test) and pregnancy test (if female). The result must be negative in order to continue with the study. This appointment would take 2 hours. 


You will be compensated for your participation in this study. You will receive a total of $100 if you complete all portions of the study. If you only complete some portions of the study, you will be compensated for each portion you do complete. Parking costs will be reimbursed.