I participated in a research study about depression run by Queen's University here in Kingston, Ontario. Depression affects 2,000,000 Canadians every year. Depression doesn't affect just one sex, ethic background or social group. Depression can affect anyone at anytime. The goal of this study is to identify bio marker that can help treat depression.
Learn more about CAN-BIND here.
The Mood Research Lab is run by Kate Harkness. They are looking to better understand depression in adolescents and adults. The SARA Project is conducting research on Major Depressive Disorders that affect 3.7 million people in Canada.
Learn more about The Mood Research Lab here.
For this study I completed a 3 part assessment and repeat the same assessment in 6 months. The purpose of the follow up is to see if the variables that may be related to your clinical status after the first assessment change over time. At each time I will participate in two 2.5-3.5 hour clinical sessions and a 1 hour neuroimaging session (MRI).
During the first clinical session I will be asked to complete a package of questionnaires about mood and take part in an interview about my mood, medications, drug use and any other symptoms. I will also be asked about relationships with my parents. I will complete a task on a computer that involves looking at cartoon faces and making decisions about what emotion they are showing. There will be a blood sample collected to assess genomic, proteomic and inflammatory markers that distinguish between depressed and non depressed people.
During the second clinical session you will give a brief speech about yourself and to complete a brief math test. The purpose of this is to measure hormones that are secreted during stress. Therefore, over the course of this second session (the speech, test, and relaxation periods) I will be asked to provide eight saliva samples. For each sample I will be given a small test tube to spit 1ml of liquid into.
During the neuroimaging session I will undergo an fMRI scan while looking at cartoon faces on a computer screen. This scan shows images of blood flow to areas in the brain associated with depression. Each scan will take an hour.
This data is being collected as part of an Ontario collaborative study on depression and will be used in conjunction with data collected from persons with the same and different conditions. This will allow researchers to study the causes of depression, improve diagnoses and develop treatments and interventions.
All information will be entered into a database called Brain-CODE. This database can be accessed by researchers and organizations outside the study. My information will be entered in under a number and my identification will be unknown. Access to data by outside researchers or organizations will require a detailed plan for the use of the data and approval from a research ethics board.
I'm used to being asked a bunch of questions and being asked for samples of this and that from me so for me it was basically like going to doctors appointments. At the first session I was asked questions about my mood, emotions and feelings over the last week or within the last month. I was asked a little about my childhood and my history with depression. I was asked to draw a line graph of my depression through my life and another on for my depression over the last year. Then they took me to draw what looked like 10 tubes of blood but it was actually only 67ml or 13 teaspoons. I was also asked to identify emotions on cartoon faces on a computer.
The second session consisted of me sitting in a room reading magazines and relaxing. I gave a saliva sample when I first got to the appointment. I smoked marijuana before my appointment which wasn't a good idea. I had such a hard time spitting after that. At first, while reading magazines, I gave saliva samples every 20 minutes then was left to chill and read some more. I was asked for saliva samples every 45 minutes or so. I was given a stress test where I was asked an interview question. I was given 5 minutes to write down why I should be hired even though I was fired from my last job. I am not a fa of interviews so I completely froze up and couldn't think of what to say. I kept saying I was a quick learner and a team player. It definitely worked, I was stressed. Then they wanted me to count backwards by 13 starting at 2040. I'm awful with numbers so I freeze up even more trying to count backward in my head and every time I got it wrong I had to start back from the last correct answer. Anytime I looked away they told me to keep eye contact. Of course after trying to give a speech and having to do math my mouth was very, very dry and they wanted a saliva sample right away. I relaxed with the magazines a little longer and they took one last saliva sample.
At the last appointment I was given an fMRI. I was placed into a tube that uses magnets to measures blood flow to areas of the brain associated with depression. The fMRI machine is kind of small and I'm not so I felt like it was a tight squeeze. I had to stay still and hold my arm to my chest so I could hold a button. I had to look at a small screen above my head. The first image was a field with a tree, this was to look at my brain when it is relaxed, and I was to keep my brain flowing and not focus on any subject. I was then asked to do two different activities. The first, I was supposed to click the button when I saw the circle and not click it when there was a square on the faces shown on the screen. The second, I was staring at a black screen and was to click the button when I see the red circle. I'm sure they got some good readings from me that day because it was the first day of snow and we didn't get as much as I thought so I'm walking way too far in winter boots. I could totally feel a bluster forming on my foot but of course I keep walking. I get to the appointment and have to take of my boots and half of my foot is bloody....embarrassing. It was a very awkward, sweaty, painful and bloody MRI.
I get to do it all again in 6 months. I think next time I'll not smoke before my appointment and wear proper foot wear.
My name is Kristen McRobie, I was diagnosed with Stage 4 Endometriosis when I was 21.