About the study

We are trying to understand what causes bipolar disorder and how medications treat bipolar depression through this research study.  If you participate, you will have two different brain scans (an MRI and a PET scan) and antidepressant treatment for free. We will then be able to see whether information on the brain scans connects with how people do on the medications. The medications are common, and are not experimental. You will be able to discuss the treatment with Dr. Lan before starting the study to make sure that it is the proper treatment for you.

The treatment will include adding an antidepressant named an SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) to a mood stabilizer  The antidepressant will be either fluoxetine (Prozac) or citalopram (celexa).  If you are on a mood stabilizer (either lamotrigine, lithium or valproate), you can continue this for the study.  If you are not on a mood stabilizer, valproate (Depakote) will be started.  The study is funded by the National Institute of Health (NIH). You will receive $400 in compensation when you complete the brain scans and will be offered up to six months of free appointments with a Columbia psychiatrist.  Please contact us if you are interested in participating.

Here is a picture of many research brain PET scans from our group:


More information about the science behind the study is listed on the Columbia University Medical Center website:


Information on the study is also listed on the National Institute of Health website: