RESEARCH PROJECT

Language problems, schizophrenia and mood disorders

MACQUARIE UNIVERSITY


Dr Susan Rossell is currently conducting a research study through
Macquarie University that is exploring the relationship between language
and communication problems and the symptoms of schizophrenia and mood
disorders. Many of the symptoms that people experience when they have
either of these illness result in confused thoughts, disordered speech and
problems communicating ideas. This research aims to develop better
interview techniques for mental health professionals as well as a better
understanding of these symptoms in schizophrenia and mood disorders.

The study would require you to have a detailed interview about your
symptoms, then over a period of weeks different aspects of language
function will be assessed using both pen and paper tests and some simple
computerised tasks. If you live in the Sydney region and have
schizophrenia or a mood disorder and are interested in taking part I would
like to hear from you. I do require that participants first language is
English and that you are 18-55 years old. If would like further
information regarding the study, please contact Dr Susan Rossell on 02
9850 9434 or via e-mail on susan@maccs.mq.edu.au


The information you provide will be kept anonymous and confidential.
Results of the study will only be reported as group data.
Your participation is very important to the study and is greatly
appreciated.




MOOD DISORDERS UNIT

CURRENT RESEARCH INTO BIPOLAR DISORDER



GENETIC STUDY OF BIPOLAR DISORDER:

This research is aiming to identify genes that predispose people to developing Bipolar Disorder (Manic-Depressive illness). The study has been progressing for several years and is being conducted by staff from the University of NSW School of Psychiatry led by Professor Philip Mitchell, and scientists at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research.

If you or someone in your family has Bipolar Disorder then your family may be able to participate in the study. We are interested in families with two or more people affected by Bipolar Disorder. As part of the study it would be necessary to contact members of your family who are free of, as well as those who have had this disorder, subject to each member's agreement to participate.

CONTACT: Mary van Herten, Research Nurse, on (02)9382 3715 email: m.vanherten@unsw.edu.au


PSYCHOLOGICAL TREATMENT STUDY FOR BIPOLAR DISORDER:

This study aims to compare two forms of psychological treatment. One of the treatments focuses on the effects of the bipolar disorder on your thoughts, feelings and behaviour (this approach is referred to as cognitive behavioural therapy). The other treatment provides education about bipolar illness, highlights the importance of medication adherence and mood monitoring. In both groups you would be supervised on an appropriate mood stabilising medication.

Investigators for the study are Jillian Ball, Ph.D., Prof. Philip Mitchell, Dr Gin Malhi, Ashleigh Skillecorn and Meg Smith, Ph.D.

CONTACT: Ashleigh Skillicorn, Clinical Psychologist on (02)9382 3722 or Meg Smith, on (02)9660 7413


TOPIRAMATE FOR ACUTE MANIA STUDY:

This is a 12 week research study to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of topiramate in the treatment of acute mania associated with bipolar disorder I (manic depression). The study will compare the safety and effectiveness of topiramate against lithium or placebo (dummy pills) during an acute manic or mixed episode. Patients who are eligible will also have the option of continuing on the medication for a 6-month "open-label"study period. The investigators for this study are Professor Philip Mitchell and Dr Gin Malhi.

CONTACT: Emma Burgess, on (02)9751 1901 (paging service)


NEUROIMAGING IN BIPOLAR DISORDER STUDY:

Neuroimaging simply means taking pictures of the brain. However, taking a photograph of the brain is not as straightforward as taking a photograph with a camera because the brain is inside the skull. We therefore use a variety of sophisticated techniques to create brain images using powerful computers. Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (MRS) is one technique that is increasingly being employed in the study of Bipolar Disorder. It is very safe as it does not involve any radiation like conventional X-rays or CT scanning and it has the potential to measure the concentrations of many compounds in the brain.

We are currently conducting a study using MRS in order to learn more about the chemical changes in the brain in Bipolar Disorder. This study involves a brain scan, which will take about 45 minutes, and psychological and psychomotor testing, which will take approximately 2 hours. Suitable participants will also be required to undergo another scan and relevant testing when there is a considerable change in their mood. Since the study involves the use of MRS, please note that you cannot participate if you have any electronic, mechanical or metallic implants in your body (eg. arterio-venous clip, pacemaker, screws, replacement joints, and shrapnel) as this will be affected by the magnets in the scanning equipment and that you may not be able to participate if you suffer from claustrophobia. The investigators for this study are Dr Gin Malhi, Prof. Perminder Sachdev, Prof. Philip Mitchell and Belinda Ivanovski.

CONTACT: Belinda Ivanovski, Research Assistant on (02) 9382 2997 or Dr Gin Malhi on (02) 9382 3719 email: b.ivanovski@unsw.edu.au


BINOCULAR RIVALRY IN BIPOLAR DISORDER STUDY:

We are currently conducting a study that examines whether a particular kind of visual test (called binocular rivalry) is able to detect people with bipolar disorder. We hope to learn whether this test can be used to screen for this illness and perhaps monitor its treatment. You will be required to complete a few questionnaires that assess your mood and a psychiatrist will also clinically assess your suitability and discuss the procedure prior to obtaining your consent. The test takes about half an hour and requires reasonably good eyesight therefore, we will assess your eyesight using a standard eye-chart. You will then be required to look at different images on a computer screen through special goggles and indicate which image you see by pressing a key on the computer keyboard. Suitable subjects may be asked to have the test again at a later date when their mood has significantly changed. The investigators for this study are Dr Gin Malhi, Prof. Philip Mitchell, Prof. Jack Pettigrew and Belinda Ivanovski.

CONTACT: Belinda Ivanovski, Research Assistant on (02) 9382 2997 or Dr Gin Malhi on (02) 9382 3719

Note: Any information that is obtained in connection with any of the above studies and that can be identified with you will remain confidential and will be disclosed only with your permission or except as required by law.




YOUNG PEOPLE & GROUPS

What have self-help support groups got to offer Australia's young people? This is the very question Ann Dadich wants to answer. With the support of the NSW Association for Mental Health and the University of Western Sydney, Ann is involved in an extensive project to determine if young people are involved in these groups and what they are getting out of their involvement.

She hopes to talk to young people under 30 years of age who are or have been involved in a self-help support group (particularly around issues of mental and emotional health), to learn about their experiences.

"Youth mental health is a high priority in Australia. We have a responsibility to examine the various ways young people can access support. No one has yet looked at what self-help support groups have to offer Australia's young people. So, whether a young person has positive or negative things to say, I'd really like to learn what these groups offer young people. This information would could be of particular benefit to others" . If you would like to be involved in the project, or perhaps know a young person who has been involved in a self-help support group, contact Ann. Confidentiality will be assured! There are various ways young people can be involved. They can:

Have a chat with Ann; Be involved in a focus group with other young people; or Write about their experiences.

So contact Ann and be part of this great project! Phone: 9920 7500 Email: a.dadich@uws.edu.au