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Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center - Houston, Texas

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Participants Needed For Novel Intervention Study for Treatment-Resistant Depression

March 4, 2011

Both Veterans and non-Veterans, ages 18 to 80, are encouraged to enroll.

The Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center (MEDVAMC) is currently conducting several clinical research studies offering novel interventions for patients with treatment-resistant depression. The goal is to reduce the time when patients are at greatest risk for serious consequences of depression such as suicide.

Treatment-resistant depression occurs in 10 percent to 40 percent of patients with major depression. This type of depression is diagnosed when an individual has not responded optimally to a six-week trial of at least one U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved medication. 

"Treatment-resistant depression is quite a common and disabling condition,” said Rayan Al Jurdi, M.D., MEDVAMC psychiatrist and an assistant professor at Baylor College of Medicine. “It affects all facets of your life and can even complicate serious health conditions such as heart disease or cancer.”

Funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, the studies will test new medications for treatment-resistant depression in both Veterans and non-Veterans, ages 18 to 80.

“We are attempting to treat the symptoms of depression in a more rapid fashion than conventional medications which might take two to three months to become effective,” said Sanjay Mathew, M.D., MEDVAMC psychiatrist, an associate professor at Baylor College of Medicine, and listed as one of the best doctors in the nation in the field of psychiatry by the medical knowledge company, Best Doctors, Inc. “It is during this ‘lag’ time patients might be at greatest risk for serious consequences of depression such as suicide.”

Individuals with active substance abuse, psychotic disorders, bipolar disorder, unstable medical illnesses such as uncontrolled hypertension or diabetes, or neurological disorders such as seizures or stroke are not eligible to participate.

These studies have been approved by the Baylor College of Medicine Institutional Review Board and the MEDVAMC Research and Development Program. Participants may be compensated for their time and travel.

For more information, call Dr. Mathew’s office at 713-791-1414 ext. 4159, dial toll-free 877-96-BCM-MOOD, or e-mail

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Awarded re-designation for Magnet Recognition for Excellence in Nursing Services in 2008, the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center serves as the primary health care provider for more than 120,000 veterans in southeast Texas. Veterans from around the country are referred to the MEDVAMC for specialized diagnostic care, radiation therapy, surgery, and medical treatment including cardiovascular surgery, gastrointestinal endoscopy, nuclear medicine, ophthalmology, and treatment of spinal cord injury and diseases. The MEDVAMC is home to a Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Clinic; Network Polytrauma Center; an award-winning Cardiac and General Surgery Program; Liver Transplant Center; VA Epilepsy and Cancer Centers of Excellence; VA Substance Abuse Disorder Quality Enhancement Research Initiative; Health Services Research & Development Center of Excellence; VA Rehabilitation Research of Excellence focusing on mild to moderate traumatic brain injury; Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center; and one of the VA’s six Parkinson’s Disease Research, Education, and Clinical Centers. Including the outpatient clinics in Beaumont, Conroe, Galveston, Houston, Lufkin, and Richmond, MEDVAMC outpatient clinics logged more than one million outpatient visits in fiscal year 2010. For the latest news releases and information about the MEDVAMC, visit