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Research Studies

The CARE Program is a clinical research center at the UC San Diego Department of Psychiatry. The primary goal of our research is to learn how to best identify and treat adolescents and young adults at high risk for developing psychotic disorders or those who have recently had a psychotic episode.  Studies at CARE are primarily supported by research grants from the National Institutes of Health.  Below are the CARE Program's ongoing research studies.

For more information and to find out how to participate in our research, contact: (619) 543-7745 or email ucsdcareprogram@gmail.com

Tele-Research options available soon!

Benefits of Research

  • All participants undergo a clinical evaluation and are provided feedback.
  • Referral services and case management provided.
  • Eligible participants are compensated for their time.
  • Participants in neuroimaging studies will receive a clinical read if indicated.
  • Participants in pharmacological trials will receive medications, follow-up appointments and neuropsychological testing at no cost.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Ages 12-35 years
  • Individuals with changes in mood, behavior, or thought patterns, unusual behaviors and social withdrawal.
  • or
  • Ages 12-35 years
  • People who have experienced a psychotic episode within the past two years.

Compensation

Participants will be compensated for time and travel 

Biomarker Studies

Biomarker and neuroimaging studies aim to understand how measures of brain structure and functioning, as well as biological markers relate to clinical symptoms. These studies collect different biological markers taken from, blood samples, saliva samples, urine samples, and MRIs. The relationship between these measures and clinical symptoms are assessed and analyzed to learn more about identifying the risk of developing mental illness.

Microbiome

The microbiome is the genetic material of all the microbes that live on and inside the body. This study will help to determine whether there are difference in oral and gut microbial composition in unmedicated and minimally antipyschotic medicated first episode individuals at high risk for developing psychosis. Currently actively enrolling. 
  • Microbiome Study Flyer

Mitochondria

Mitochondria, the energy powerhouses in each brain cell, are changed in schizophrenia, and reduced in function according to multiple studies. It is unknown if the alterations are primarily caused by illness, genetics, or antipsychotic drug treatment. We propose to study mitochondria in subjects with schizophrenia, and early psychosis, compared to controls to evaluate these specific causes. The outcomes of this study will expand our knowledge of genetic basis for mitochondria dysfunction in schizophrenia, and association of that dysfunction with psychiatric symptoms. Currently actively enrolling. 

ProNet

The purpose of this research is to examine the effects of family intervention on symptoms in adolescents and young adults who are at clinical high risk (CHR) for psychosis syndrome. Participants and their families will be provided with family therapy (in person or video visits) at no charge and will be compensated for their time. This study includes comprehensive clinical assessment and follow up visits over an 18-month period. Recruitment beginning in October 2020. 


Clinical Trials

The Enlighten Study

The purpose of this study is to look at the effects of taking Olanzapine (also known as Zyprexa) and samidorphan together in a bi-layer tablet (ALKS 3831). The study will look at a large group of patients with Schizophrenia, Schizophreniform, or Bipolar Disorder to see if patients taking ALKS 3831 gain less weight than patients taking Olanzapine alone. Subjects completing this study will be eligible to enroll in a long-term safety study (ALK3831-A308), which may provide up to 4 years of medications free of charge. Currently actively enrolling. 

BIPI  (BI 409306)

The purpose of this study is to test whether the study drug (BI 409306), may help subjects with attenuated psychosis syndrome (APS) to get better and/or may prevent the subjects from having a first episode of psychosis. The study will look at whether the study drug can improve awareness, perception, reasoning, judgement, and overall ability to function in subjects with APS.  This study looks at how well subjects tolerate the medicine and how effective it is over 1 year. Currently actively enrolling. 

CBD (Cannabidiol) 

The purpose of this research is to examine the effects of cannabidiol (CBD) on individuals who are at clinical high risk for psychosis and individuals who have early onset psychosis (first episode within the past two years).  Recent evidence has suggested that CBD may reduce psychosocial stress, normalize inflammatory biomarker levels and potentially improve symptoms of psychosis without the effects of THC. The study will look at symptoms, neurocognition, brain activity, neuroimmune response and eating behavior in individuals who will receive either a CBD supplement or a placebo for 8 weeks. Participants will be provided with clinical assessments and be compensated for completion of these evaluations. Recruitment beginning in November 2020. 


Psychosocial Intervention Studies

UPLIFT (Understanding Prodrome and Limiting Illness with Family Therapy)

The purpose of this research is to examine the effects of family intervention on symptoms in adolescents and young adults who are at clinical high risk (CHR) for psychosis syndrome. Participants and their families will be provided with family therapy (in person or video visits) at no charge and will be compensated for their time. This study includes comprehensive clinical assessment and follow up visits over an 18-month period. Recruitment beginning in October 2020. 

Early Psychosis Intervention Network

The UCSD CARE Early Psychosis program represents a clinical service working with the EPI-CAL regional hub of early psychosis programs. The Early Psychosis Intervention Network (EPINET) is a 5-year project that connects regional hubs to support practice-based research to improve early identification, diagnosis, clinical assessment, intervention effectiveness, service delivery, and health outcomes in clinics offering evidence-based specialty care to persons in the early stages of psychotic illness. EPI-CAL is California's regional hub and seeks to create a California early psychosis network.

EPI-CAL aims to create a network using a core assessment battery of valid, low burden measures and mHealth technology platform to collect client-level information as part of standard care, visualize such information via clinician dashboard for treatment planning. The core assessment battery will include standard measures of early psychosis clinical features, services, and treatment outcomes.