Schizophrenia Research Group

The research projects conducted in our lab are primarily focused on identifying the most effective treatments-medication and psychotherapy-for psychosis that decrease symptoms and improve functioning. 
 
We are currently recruiting for the following studies. If you would like more information about our research, please contact Michelle Worthington at 646-754-4803.
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A Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial investigating the effects of Levetiracetam in early psychosis

The purpose of the study is to determine the efficacy of two different doses of the anticonvulsant levetiracetam (Keppra) in people with early psychosis who have not taken antipsychotic medication by examining the effects on the brain. We are currently seeking participants with early psychosis who have not taken antipsychotic medication for at least 4 weeks.

To be considered eligible, participants must meet the following criteria:

  • Diagnosis of Schizophrenia, Schizotypal, or Schizophreniforrm Disorder
  • Age 16-35
  • Must not have taken antipsychotic medication within 4 weeks prior to study enrollment
  • Must have experienced a first episode of nonaffective psychosis within  5 years and exhibit current psychosis
  • In order to protect the health and safety of our participants, those meeting any of the following criteria will be ineligible for participation:
  • Current substance abuse or positive urine toxic screen (recreational use of marijuana is permitted)
  • Diagnosis of major mood disorder or other Axis I disorder
  • Current or recent suicidal ideation
  • Pregnant or nursing or positive urine test
  • History of any neurological disorder such as seizures, history of loss of consciousness or head trauma
  • Any metal implants, pacemaker, or other metal in the body or medicinal patch
  • History of claustrophobia
  • Currently taking any psychotropic medication within the past 4 weeks, including antidepressant medications, benzodiazepines, antipsychotic medications, mood stabilizers, anti-epileptic medications, and stimulants

The study includes 2 in-person visits. During the first of two visits, participants will spend approximately 60 minutes to sign informed consent and complete screening. During the second visit, participants will have brain imaging before and after a single dose of the study drug and will complete some questionnaires and a blood test over a period of about 4 hours. All study participants will receive $200 for their time in addition to reimbursement for travel; meals will be provided for the second study visit.


Clinical Trial for Negative Symptoms in Schizophrenia

The purpose of this study is to determine whether compound TAK-831 is effective in treating negative symptoms for individuals in a non-acute phase of schizophrenia. We are currently seeking individuals who are diagnosed with schizophrenia and may be experiencing social withdrawal, depressed mood, trouble sleeping, and an overall lack of motivation. Participants will be enrolled in a 12-week study and will receive a daily dose of the study drug or placebo.
To be considered eligible, participants must meet the following criteria:

  • Age 18-50
  • Diagnosis of Schizophrenia for >1 year
  • Taking the same dose of an antipsychotic for 2 months
  • Have not been hospitalized as a psychiatric inpatient in the past 3 months
  • Predominant negative symptoms such as lack of motivation, social withdrawal, trouble thinking, lack of interest in daily activities, or depressed mood
  • Has an informant such as a family member, social worker, caseworker, or nurse who will be able to provide input to complete study scales

In order to protect the health and safety of our participants, those meeting any of the following criteria will be ineligible for participation:

  • Lifetime diagnosis of bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, or schizoaffective disorder
  • Current diagnosis of panic disorder, depressive episode, or other psychiatric conditions
  • Substance use disorder in the past 6 months
  • Participation in structured psychosocial treatment program for <3 months prior to enrollment
  • Significant symptoms of depression
  • Onset of schizophrenia prior to 12 years of age
  • Intellectual disability
  • Treatment with clozapine in the last 5 years
  • Serious or unstable medical illness, including renal impairment, hypertension, diabetes, cardiac arrhythmia, heart failure, and history of heart attacks
  • Pregnant or nursing
  • Treatment with Cogentin in the past month

The study involves 9 in-person visits over the course of 14 weeks. Participants will be randomly assigned to receive either TAK-831 or placebo for the duration of the study.  Everyone participating in the study will undergo neurocognitive and clinical assessments. Participants will receive compensation for their participation and reimbursement for transportation is also available.