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University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences 

Adults Needed for Ongoing WPIC Study of Light Therapy to Treat Bipolar Disorder

PITTSBURGH, Dec. 15, 2011 Researchers at the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic of UPMC are seeking adults ages 18 to 75 who have bipolar disorder (BD) with current major depression for an ongoing study of  light therapy to improve mood symptoms and feelings of well-being in women or men with bipolar depression. Participants will be provided a light box through the duration of the study, which they will use daily in the comfort of their own homes or offices. To be eligible for the study, participants must have been taking a constant dose of a mood stabilizer drug for four or more weeks. Participation in the study could last up to 24 weeks. 

BD is characterized by episodes of recurrent major depression and intermittent episodes of hypomania/mania or mixed symptoms. During a major depressive episode, patients with BD describe persistent symptoms (two or more weeks) of:

  • Feeling hopeless or pessimistic
  • Low mood or reduced interest or pleasure in things once enjoyed
  • Problems falling asleep, staying asleep, waking too early or oversleeping
  • Loss of appetite, weight loss or gain, or overeating
  • Thoughts of death or suicide
  • Poor concentration, difficulty with making decisions
  • Mood swings

At other times, patients with BD experience hypomanic or manic episodes. The symptoms may include elated or euphoric mood (being high or overly happy), extreme irritability, racing thoughts, rapid speech, increased activities and planning, reduced need for sleep and too much energy.

Up to $200 in compensation will be provided to each participant if all scheduled visits are completed. Compensation for transportation, including public transportation or parking, also will be provided. The study is supported by a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health.

For more information, call toll-free 1-800-436-2461 or visit www.womensbehavioralhealth.org.

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