Neurobiology of Suicide

  • STATUS
    Recruiting
  • days left to enroll
    32
  • participants needed
    325
  • sponsor
    National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Updated on 10 May 2021
ketamine
remission
anxiety
blood test
depressed mood
suicide
suicidal

Summary

Background

There are no good treatments for people considering suicide. Researchers want to study suicide with questions, blood tests, brain imaging, and sleep studies. They hope to better understand suicide, so they can help suicidal people.

Objective

To understand what happens in the brain when someone has thought about or attempted suicide.

Eligibility

Group 1: Adults ages 18 70 who have thought about or attempted suicide recently

Group 2: Adults ages 18 70 who have thought about or attempted suicide in the past

Group 3: Adults ages 18 70 who have depression or anxiety, but have never thought about suicide

Group 4: Healthy volunteers the same ages.

Design

Participants will be screened in another protocol. Adults who have recently thought about or attempted suicide must be referred by a doctor. They may do up to 3 phases of this study. Groups 2, 3 and 4 will do only Phase 1 and will not get ketamine.

Phase 1: 1 week in hospital. Participants will have:

Physical exam.

Questions about thoughts and feelings.

Thinking and memory tests and simple tasks.

Blood and urine tests.

Two MRI scans. Participants will lie on a table that slides into a metal cylinder that takes pictures. They will have a coil over their head and earplugs and do a computer task.

Sleep test. Disks and bands will be placed on the body to monitor it during sleep.

Magnetic detectors on their head while they perform tasks.

A wrist monitor for activity and sleep.

Lumbar puncture (optional). A needle will collect fluid from the back.

Shock experiments (optional). Participants will observe pictures and sounds and feel a small shock on the hand.

Phase 2: 4 days in hospital. A thin plastic tube will be placed in each arm, one for blood draws, the other to get the drug ketamine once. Participants will repeat most of the Phase 1 tests.

Phase 3: up to 4 more ketamine doses over 2 weeks.

Participants will have follow-up calls or visits at 6 months and then maybe yearly for 5 years.

Description

  1. Objective

Suicide occurs across demographics and psychiatric disorders, killing at least one million individuals worldwide each year. In contrast to other injury-related death such as homicide or motor vehicle accidents, suicide rates have increased, particularly among middle-aged adults. Clinicians have a limited ability to predict imminent suicidal behavior and few, if any, efficacious treatments are available to treat suicidal patients. Advances in the treatment of the suicidal patients have been hampered by an incomplete understanding of the neurobiological underpinnings of the suicidal crisis, as suicidal thoughts and behaviors have not been clearly linked with specific neural circuits.

The aim of this study is to evaluate possible biomarkers of suicidal thoughts and behaviors in individuals currently experiencing a suicidal crisis. In taking a dimensional approach to suicide research, we will be able to study phenomenology across Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) units of analysis, from genes through circuits to self-report and experimental paradigms. Through this approach, we can identify potential neurobiological risk factors for both short and long-term suicide risk. As a secondary aim, we will use ketamine to identify biomarkers of ketamine response in a sample at acute risk for suicide.

B. Study Population

Five participant populations will be recruited into this protocol in order to encompass the continuum of suicide risk. A total of 325 individuals will be enrolled in the study. Participant populations are individuals with the following conditions: 1.) recent suicidal ideation with intent and/or suicide attempt (Group 1- active crisis , n= 65); 2) a past history of suicide attempt, but no suicidal behavior in the last year (Group 2, n= 65, attempters ); 3) anxiety or mood symptoms, but no recent or past suicidal thoughts or behavior (Group 3, n= 65);

4) healthy controls with no psychiatric or suicide history (Group 4, n= 65); and lifetime suicidal thoughts with intent (Group 5, n=65, ideators ).

C. Design

The research protocol will occur across three phases: baseline, ketamine response and optional repeated infusions. All participants will first be consented into Phase I, which may last up to seven days. This baseline phase will entail multimodal assessment, using pathophysiological markers (blood draw, lumbar puncture), neuroimaging (fMRI, MEG), polysomnography, clinical ratings and experimental paradigms (shock experiments). Participants will receive their regularly scheduled daily medications, but will not receive additional treatment (including new prn medications, such as benzodiazepines for management of anxiety or agitation) during this brief baseline phase. After completion of Phase I, eligible participants from Group 1 only (active crisis) will be offered participation in Phase II, the ketamine response phase. This phase, which will last up to four days, consists of a single, open-label trial of ketamine (0.5 mg/kg). The focus of this phase will be identification of potential biomarkers of antisuicidal ketamine response. Participants who complete Phase II will be offered Phase III, which will involve repeated ketamine infusions over two weeks (2 times/ per week for 2 weeks). Psychiatric medication adjustment will be permitted during Phase III.

After participation in Phases I-III, participants in Groups 1-3 and 5 will be offered standard clinical treatment (excluding healthy controls), or participation in another protocol. In standard clinical treatment, adjustment of psychiatric medications and commencement of psychotherapeutic interventions will be permitted. Finally, participants in the first three groups (excluding healthy controls) will receive follow-up evaluations at six months and 1 year after completion of Study Phase I.

D. Outcome Measures

In Phase I, the outcome measures will be underlying psychiatric, psychological, neuroimaging, sleep and biological differences between the participant groups. In Phase II, the outcome measures will be reductions in suicidal thoughts and depressive and anxiety symptoms at 24 hours post-ketamine infusion.

Details
Condition Endogenous depression, Depression, Depression (Major/Severe), Diet and Nutrition, Chronic Diarrhea, Skin Wounds, Chronic Shoulder Pain, Vaginal Atrophy, Adverse Effects, Drugs, Injection Port, Breast Cancer - HER2 Positive, Anal Dysplasia, Primary Immunodeficiency, Pediatric Health, Depression (Adolescent), Depression (Pediatric), Depression (Adult and Geriatric), Depression (Treatment-Resistant), Near-Sighted Corrective Surgery, Healthy Volunteers, Peripheral Arterial Occlusive Disease, Brain Function, Depressed, Recurrent Respiratory Papillomatosis, Razor Bumps (Pseudofolliculitis Barbae), Metastatic Triple-Negative Breast Cancer, depressive disorder, depressed mood, miserable, depressive disorders
Treatment Ketamine
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT02543983
SponsorNational Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Last Modified on10 May 2021

Eligibility

Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

Phase I: Groups 1-3 and 5 (Patients)
18 to 70 years of age
A level of understanding sufficient to agree to all required tests and examinations, sign an informed consent document and verify understanding by a score greater than or equal to 90% on the Baseline consent quiz
Individuals who are able to get pregnant must be willing to remain sexually abstinent or use at least one form of effective birth control during participation in Phase I
Additional Criteria for Group 1 (Active Crisis): Agree to be hospitalize
Phase I: Group 4 (Healthy Volunteers)
18 to 70 years of age
A level of understanding sufficient to agree to all required tests and examinations, sign an informed consent document
Individuals who are able to get pregnant must be willing to remain sexually abstinent or use at least one form of effective birth control during participation in Phase I
Phase II: Group 1 (Active Crisis)
Patients must have completed Study Phase I as a participant in Group 1
Participants must verify understanding of the protocol by a score greater than or equal to 80% on the Ketamine Response
consent quiz
\. Patients must report at least minimal suicidal ideation, depressive or
anxiety symptoms to be eligible for this phase (see Monitoring Suicide Risk
section)
MADRS score of over 10 (10 used as an outcome measure for remission)126
OR HAMA score of over 7 (7 used as an outcome measure for remission)127
OR SSI score of 2 or more (indicates any residual suicidal thoughts) 4. Individuals who are able to get pregnant must be willing to remain sexually abstinent or use at least one form of effective birth control during participation in Phase II
Phase III: Group 1 (Active Crisis)
Participants must have met all inclusion criteria for and completed Study Phase II as a participant in Group 1 (active crisis)
Individuals who are able to get pregnant must be willing to remain sexually abstinent or use at least one form of effective birth control during participation in Phase III

Exclusion Criteria

Phase I: Groups 1-3 and 5 (Patients)
Current psychotic features or cognitive impairment that would preclude understanding of the consenting process or tests/examinations
Current drug or alcohol dependence
Currently intoxicated or under the acute effects of an illicit substance will not be consented into the study
Pregnant or nursing individuals or those who plan to become pregnant
Serious, unstable medical conditions/problems including hepatic, renal, gastroenterologic, respiratory, cardiovascular (including blood pressure, ischemic heart disease), endocrinologic, neurologic, immunologic, or hematologic disease
Clinically significant abnormal laboratory tests
Positive HIV test
Participants who, in the investigator s judgment, pose a current homicidal risk or pose suicide risk that cannot be managed in a secure, voluntary inpatient setting
Non-English speakers
Additional Criteria for Group 1 (Active Crisis): For participants who still experience the effects of their suicide attempt, i.e. someone who overdosed is significantly drowsy or confused, the consenting process will occur after the patient has improved from the effects. If there is a concern around a participant s capacity to consent, the Human Subjects Protections Unit (HSPU) team member who is
monitoring the informed consent process will complete a capacity assessment
Participants who are determined not to have capacity to consent to research
will not be included in the study
Phase I: Group 4 (Healthy Volunteers)
Current or past Axis I diagnosis
Presence of medical illness likely to alter brain morphology and/or physiology (e.g., hypertension, diabetes) even if controlled by medications
Current or past alcohol or substance abuse or dependence diagnosis (except for nicotine or caffeine) (or substance abuse disorder per DSM-V)
Presence of psychiatric disorders or a history of suicide attempt or death in first-degree relatives
Pregnant or nursing individuals or those who plan to become pregnant
No lifetime suicide attempts or ideations
Non-English speakers
Positive HIV test
Exclusions for Imaging
Participants with metal objects implanted in the body, such as aneurysm clips, neural stimulators, implanted cardiac pacemakers, or auto-defibrillator, cochlear implant, or ocular foreign body which would make having an MRI scan unsafe
Participants who are uncomfortable in small closed spaces (have claustrophobia) and would feel uncomfortable in the MRI machine
Participants with a brain abnormality on an initial MRI scan
Subjects with hearing loss that has been clinically evaluated and diagnosed and may be worsened through participation in imaging procedures
Phase II: Group 1 (Active Crisis)
Treatment with a reversible MAOI within 2 weeks prior to study Phase II
Treatment with any other concomitant medication not allowed within 5 (Omega) half-lives prior to study Phase II
Subjects with one or more seizures without a clear and resolved etiology
Participants with a positive urine for an illicit substance no more than 24 hours prior to the ketamine infusion
Presence of current psychotic features or a diagnosis of Schizophrenia or any other psychotic disorder as defined in the DSM-IV or DSM-V
Pregnant or nursing individuals or those who plan to become pregnant
A medical finding or condition that in the clinical judgement of the investigator increases the risk of adverse effects from the ketamine administration (for example: findings suggesting difficulties with kidney or cardiac function that may be contraindications for an experimental intervention)
Phase III: Repeated Administration (Group 1 only)
Intolerable or serious adverse reaction to ketamine during Phase II
Treatment with a reversible MAOI within 2 weeks prior to study Phase III
Treatment with any other concomitant medication not allowed within 5 (Omega) half-lives prior to study Phase III
Subjects with one or more seizures without a clear and resolved etiology
Participants with a positive urine for an illicit substance no more than 24 hours prior to each ketamine infusion
Presence of current psychotic features or a diagnosis of Schizophrenia or any other psychotic disorder as defined in the DSM-IV or DSM-V
Pregnant or nursing individuals or those who plan to become pregnant
Exclusions for Imaging
Participants with metal objects implanted in the body, such as aneurysm clips, neural stimulators, implanted cardiac pacemakers, or auto-defibrillator, cochlear implant, or ocular foreign body which would make having an MRI scan unsafe
Participants who are uncomfortable in small closed spaces (have claustrophobia) and would feel uncomfortable in the MRI machine
Participants with a brain abnormality on an initial MRI scan
Subjects with hearing loss that has been clinically evaluated and diagnosed and may be worsened through participation in imaging procedures
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