Treatment-Resistant Depression study

Antidepressant medications (ADM) are the first line of treatment for major depressive disorder. Yet more than 60% individuals prescribed with ADMs fail to achieve remission and 50% further remain resistant to second and subsequent rounds of ADMs. There are currently no clinically useful prognostic markers that can identify patients who are likely to resist ADM treatments.

This project aims to study individuals with treatment resistant depression using a novel MR Imaging based technique called “connectomics”. This project will use this new technique to: 1) map detailed neural circuitry architecture to understand neural mechanisms of why some people remain resistant to ADMs, and 2) identify connectomic based biomarkers that could potentially be clinically useful to identify treatment resistant depressed patients prior to commencement of ADM treatment.

We are seeking people (aged between 18-65 years) clinically diagnosed with major depression disorder and that have not responded to treatment. The focus of this study is to improve our knowledge of depression and will not involve any medication or therapy. Participation involves visiting The Westmead Institute for Medical Research for an interview, MRI brain scan, cognitive assessments and an EEG. Participants will be reimbursed for their time.

Exclusion Criteria: insufficient English, current primary diagnosis of eating disorder, personality disorder, PTSD, substance dependence, current pregnancy, history or current neurological disorder or brain injury, recent history (in the last 6 months) of electroconvulsive therapy or transcranial magnetic stimulation.

If you are interested in participating, or would like further information, please do not hesitate to contact Ana Rita Barreiros on 8627 3319 or

Previous projects
iSPOT-D study
iSPOT-D was the largest biomarker study ever undertaken in major depressive disorder. The aim of this study was to identify genetic, brain and cognitive markers (or combinations of markers) that predict specific response to a range of antidepressants (sertraline, escitalopram, venlafaxine) in patients diagnosed with major depressive disorder (MDD). This ground breaking study, funded by Brain Resource, may change the way in which personalised medicine is implemented in depression.

Family of Depression Study
The aim of this project was to understand vulnerability for depression in individuals. By understanding how depression develops, we can develop prevention and early intervention strategies. 
We investigated a range of contributing factors including genetics, brain, behaviour, personality and experienced symptoms, as well as the impact of life events. We will follow participants up one year after the initial visit to see how the initial measures relate to wellbeing and symptom development overtime. Integration across these measures will contribute to a deeper understanding of the development of depression.