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QUARTERLY NEWSLETTER 
Who We Are

The Depression Clinical & Research Program (DCRP) at Massachusetts General Hospital is considered one of the leading centers for the study of depressive disorders worldwide.

The ongoing work of the DCRP is helping to define depression treatments for the field. Over the years, our experienced researchers and clinicians, along with our promising young trainees and junior faculty members, have collaborated to generate numerous clinical innovations, perform pilot studies, conduct large controlled trials, and publish some of the most impactful research articles in the field.

At this time, we want to acknowledge two disparate but intertwined current events: the COVID-19 pandemic and the growing anti-racism movement. Systemic racism in our nation and worldwide has contributed to discrimination and violence against Black people, and to the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Black communities, exacerbating physical and mental health inequities. We want to affirm our support for the Black community and our commitment to help through decisive action.

Recently, MGH President Peter Slavin, MD, stated that “Perhaps the most immediate and important step forward is for every American to finally recognize and admit that racism exists everywhere, at every institution across the country – and throughout the MGH…We must – and we will – confront racism in our hospital and in our community head-on, just as we have done with COVID.”

As members of MGH and the DCRP, we wholeheartedly agree with President Slavin and will strive to make our workplace actively anti-racist and seek out opportunities to further educate ourselves and our colleagues about how we can be effective allies in the fight against racism.  As part of this effort, we will also continue our ongoing efforts to increase access to mental health care among traditionally underrepresented groups in both our clinical and research settings.

We recognize that there is a lot of critical work to be done, and we want to begin by providing resources for anyone struggling with their mental health as a result of COVID-19 and/or the traumas that result from ongoing racism and discrimination in our country.

Guide to Mental Health Resources for COVID-19

Maintaining Emotional Health & Well-Being During the COVID-19 Outbreak

Mass 211: Home

Guide to Mental Health Resources for BIPOC

NAMI Resources for Black Americans

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Meet The Staff
David Mischoulon, MD, PhD
Director of the DCRP

Dr. David Mischoulon is a Psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital and the Joyce R. Tedlow Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. He graduated from the combined MD-PhD program at Boston University and completed his residency in adult psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital, where he served as Chief Resident in Psychopharmacology. His research has focused on various areas of depression, including complementary and alternative medicine. 

Dr. Mischoulon has authored or co-authored more than 280 original articles, review articles, and book chapters, and has also co-edited two textbooks including one on natural medications for psychiatric disorders, and a guide to the treatment of depression. He teaches and supervises residents and medical students, and lectures in various MGH Psychiatry Academy continuing medical education courses.
Q&A with Dr. Mischoulon

When did you decide that you wanted to be a doctor?  
I was very young, probably between the ages of 8 and 9.  My first medical role models were Dr. Brackett from the TV series “Emergency!”, and Hawkeye Pierce from “MASH”. Interestingly, both were surgeons, and I ended up becoming a psychiatrist!

What is your best travel story?  
I got to visit the base camp in the Tibetan side of Mount Everest in 2017.  I spent the night there with a tour group in a small “hostel” they have for tourists.  My cell phone actually worked up there and I was able to call my Mom to tell her goodnight! It was cold, the air was very thin, and I couldn’t sleep due to having to take whiffs of canned oxygen every hour or so. But the next day as we drove back down, I felt elated to have been so close to the top of the world!

What did you want to be when you were a kid? 
I think my original vocation was to be a paramedic. I was influenced by the TV show “Emergency!”, whose main characters were two Los Angeles paramedics.  As I got a little older I realized that it was a dangerous profession, and so I might be safer being a doctor!

What sparked your interest in alternative treatments for depression?  
During my chief residency year, one of my projects was to organize a lecture series on the topic of my choice.  Dr. Jerry Rosenbaum, who was then my supervisor, recommended the topic of natural remedies, since he had recently been gifted a small book on the topic.  Organizing the lectures, meeting the speakers, and reading and learning about this area made me realize that it would be a good career niche for me since it was an understudied area with many good questions waiting to be answered. As a result, I always tell residents and other supervisees to always be open to serendipity in their career and in life!
Learn More About Our Team!
Advances in Research & Clinical Innovation

Ketamine Clinic Combating Treatment-Resistant Depression
Clinical Director: Cristina Cusin, MD
Director of Translational Studies at the DCRP

The Intravenous Ketamine Clinic for Depression at Massachusetts General Hospital combines advanced psychopharmacology expertise with knowledge stemming from a decade of ketamine research. The clinic offers treatment for patients with severe and refractory depression using the medication ketamine primarily given through intravenous infusion. We work collaboratively with the outpatient treatment team to develop an appropriate plan for each patient.

What services does the clinic perform? Who is eligible to receive ketamine treatment?
The clinicians perform a thorough consultation as the first step.  Ketamine can be a good option for patients with unipolar or bipolar depression who have not received benefit from previous treatments (antidepressants, talk therapy, TMS, ECT). Studies have shown that ketamine can significantly reduce suicidal ideation. 

Ketamine treatment is not a good fit for patients who have a current substance use disorder or have a history of psychosis. All patients must be referred to the ketamine clinic by their primary prescriber. Insurance currently only covers the consultation and outpatient clinic follow-up visit where you may discuss symptom monitoring and treatment planning. All treatment visits/administrations, including maintenance infusions, are currently not covered by insurance. All patients are required to have an adult to escort them home after each treatment.

What is the process of Ketamine treatment?
Once a patient is referred to our clinic by their treater, they will be contacted and provided information over the phone, to determine if they are a good fit to receive ketamine treatment. The patient will then be scheduled for an in-person consultation. In the consultation, the patient will speak with one of our physicians to review their medical history, psychiatric history and current treatment in detail. If ketamine appears to be a viable option, the physician will discuss a treatment plan. This usually includes scheduling 4-6 infusions over 2-3 weeks for an induction series. If the treatments are successful, maintenance infusions may be required every 4 to 6 weeks.

For more information call: (617) 726-8727

Read More Here!

Yoga's Effect on Depression Symptoms

In an uncontrolled pilot study, heated yoga was associated with reduced depressive symptoms, and other improved mental health symptoms, including anxiety, hopelessness, and quality of life. More frequent attendance was significantly associated with improvement in self-rated depression symptoms, hopelessness, and quality of life.

First Author: Maren Nyer, PhD
Published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 
Presented at the 9th Mind-Body Interface (MBI) International Symposium in Taiwan
Read More Here!
Poster Presentation for MGH Clinical Research Day
Presented by Sylvie Tuchman and Richard Norton

Our DCRP Research Coordinators, Sylvie and Richard, presented their findings on the Qualitative Evaluation of Heated Yoga for Depression at the Massachusetts General Hospital Clinical Research Day.
Pictured (left to right): Paolo Cassano MD, PhD, David Mischoulon MD, PhDPaola Pedrelli, PhDMaren Nyer, PhD 
 
9th Mind-Body Interface International Symposium in Taiwan
In October 2019, four DCRP doctors attended and presented at the 9th Mind-Body Interface (MBI) International Symposium in Taiwan.

Our Director, Dr. David Mischoulon, MD, PhD, served as Chair for a Symposium entitled, Device-Based Technologies in the Diagnosis and Treatment of Depression and Anxiety.
  • Paolo Cassano, MD, PhD presented on Transcranial Photobiomodulation in the Treatment of Psychiatric Disorders: Can we Close the Loop?
  • Dr. Mischoulon presented on Brain Stimulators: Cranial Electrical Stimulation and Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation in the Treatment of Psychiatric Disorders. 
  • Paola Pedrelli, PhD presented on Leveraging Smartphones and Wearable Sensors to Assess Depressive Symptoms. 
  • Maren Nyer, PhD presented The Role of Heat in the Treatment of Depression.
Dr. David Mischloulon & Dr. Yutaka Matsouka served as Chairs on a Symposium entitled, Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Management of Depression and Anxiety: From Making Evidence to Dissemination to Practice.
  • Dr. David Mischoulon also presented the Current Role of Natural Remedies in Psychiatry and Possible Mechanisms of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Read More Here!
Research Opportunities

Explore research studies that are actively recruiting participants!
If you are interested, please contact us to find out if the study would be a good fit for you.
Sensors-Based Characterization
of Depression
This study aims to use wearable and mobile-based sensors to monitor physiological signals, vocal characteristics, sleep patterns, activity, location and phone usage in study patients with depression who are receiving psychiatric treatment.
(617) 724-2936
bmwallace@mgh.harvard.edu
Find Out If You Qualify!
Neuroimaging of Reward Processing
in Depression
Are you between the ages of 18 and 45, right-handed, and not taking any medications for depression, anxiety, or ADHD? If so, you may be eligible to help researchers at McLean Hospital and Mass General Hospital understand links between depression and stress! 
Megha
(617) 724-7244 
mnagaswami@mgh.harvard.edu
Find Out If You Qualify!
CBT for Depression in Patients
with TBI
Investigates an adapted form of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, a common form of talk therapy, for adults who are experiencing depression after sustaining a moderate to severe Traumatic Brain Injury. 
(617) 724-3222
stuchman@mgh.harvard.edu
Find Out If You Qualify!
Neurobiological Underpinnings of Placebo Response in Depression
You may be eligible to participate in a research study at Massachusetts General Hospital. We are studying similarities in brain chemistry of people with depression who get better while taking an FDA-approved antidepressant medication and those people who get better taking a placebo. 
(617) 643-2497
akmeyer@mgh.harvard.edu
Find Out If You Qualify!
Stay Connected!
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Emergency Resources

If you or someone you know are thinking of suicide, seek help immediately. You can visit your local emergency room or contact one of the following hotlines:

  • Boston Emergency Services Team: 800-981-4357
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255 (800-273-TALK)
  • Good Samaritan’s Hotline: 877-870-4673 (877-870-HOPE)
  • Treatment Advocacy Center: 800-784-2433 (800-Suicide)
  • The Trevor Helpline: 866-488-7386 (866-4-U-Trevor) for LGBT youth and young adults
The Depression Clinical and Research Program
at the Massachusetts General Hospital
One Bowdoin Square, 6th Floor, Boston, MA 02114 

Information on participating in a research study: 877-552-5837.
Contact the clinical program: 617-726-8895.

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Depression Clinical and Research Program at MGH · 1 Bowdoin St · Boston, MA 02114-4201 · USA

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