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      Neural Correlates of the DEEPP (Anti-suicidal Response to Ketamine in Treatment-Resistant Bipolar Depression) Study: Protocol for a Pilot, Open-Label Clinical Trial


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          Suicide is among the top 10 leading causes of death worldwide. Of people who died by suicide, the majority are diagnosed with depression. It is estimated that 25%-60% of people with bipolar depression (BD) will attempt suicide at least once, and 10%-15% will die by suicide. Several treatments, such as lithium, clozapine, electroconvulsive therapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy, have been shown to be effective in treating suicidality. However, these treatments can be difficult to tolerate or may take months to take effect. Ketamine, a glutamate N-methyl-D-aspartate antagonist, has been shown to have rapid antisuicidal effect and antidepressant qualities, and is thus a promising intervention to target acute suicidality in patients with BD. However, the biological mechanism underlying its therapeutic action remains poorly understood. Enhancing our understanding of underlying mechanisms of action for ketamine’s effectiveness in reducing suicidality is critical to establishing biological markers of treatment response and developing tailored, personalized interventions for patients with BD.


          This is an open-label clinical trial to test the safety and feasibility of repeated ketamine infusions to treat acute suicidality. The primary objective is to test the safety and feasibility of ketamine intervention. The secondary objective is to examine ketamine’s potential neurophysiological mechanisms of action by assessing cortical excitation and inhibition to determine potential biomarkers of clinical response. Other objectives are to evaluate the effect of ketamine on acute suicidality and other clinical outcomes, such as depressive symptoms and quality of life, to inform a future larger trial.


          This open-label clinical trial aims to test the safety and feasibility of repeated ketamine infusions in patients with BD for suicidality and to assess ketamine’s neurophysiological effects. A sterile form of racemic ketamine hydrochloride will be administered over a 40-minute intravenous infusion 2 times per week on nonconsecutive days for 4 weeks (8 sessions). We will recruit 30 adults (24-65 year olds) over 2 years from an academic psychiatric hospital in Toronto, Canada.


          This study is currently ongoing and actively recruiting participants. So far, 5 participants have completed the trial, 1 is currently in active treatment, and 8 participants are on the waitlist to be screened. We anticipate initial results being available in the fall of 2023. This proposal was presented as a poster presentation at the Research to Reality Global Summit on Psychedelic-Assisted Therapies and Medicine, held in May 2022 in Toronto, Canada.


          Developing effective interventions for acute suicidality in high-risk populations such as those with BD remains a major therapeutic challenge. Ketamine is a promising treatment due to its rapid antidepressant and antisuicidal effects, but its underlying neurophysiological mechanisms of action remain unknown.

          Trial Registration

          ClinicalTrials.gov NCT05177146; https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT05177146

          International Registered Report Identifier (IRRID)


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          Most cited references31

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          EEGLAB: an open source toolbox for analysis of single-trial EEG dynamics including independent component analysis

          We have developed a toolbox and graphic user interface, EEGLAB, running under the crossplatform MATLAB environment (The Mathworks, Inc.) for processing collections of single-trial and/or averaged EEG data of any number of channels. Available functions include EEG data, channel and event information importing, data visualization (scrolling, scalp map and dipole model plotting, plus multi-trial ERP-image plots), preprocessing (including artifact rejection, filtering, epoch selection, and averaging), independent component analysis (ICA) and time/frequency decompositions including channel and component cross-coherence supported by bootstrap statistical methods based on data resampling. EEGLAB functions are organized into three layers. Top-layer functions allow users to interact with the data through the graphic interface without needing to use MATLAB syntax. Menu options allow users to tune the behavior of EEGLAB to available memory. Middle-layer functions allow users to customize data processing using command history and interactive 'pop' functions. Experienced MATLAB users can use EEGLAB data structures and stand-alone signal processing functions to write custom and/or batch analysis scripts. Extensive function help and tutorial information are included. A 'plug-in' facility allows easy incorporation of new EEG modules into the main menu. EEGLAB is freely available (http://www.sccn.ucsd.edu/eeglab/) under the GNU public license for noncommercial use and open source development, together with sample data, user tutorial and extensive documentation.
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            A rating scale for mania: reliability, validity and sensitivity

            An eleven item clinician-administered Mania Rating Scale (MRS) is introduced, and its reliability, validity and sensitivity are examined. There was a high correlation between the scores of two independent clinicians on both the total score (0.93) and the individual item scores (0.66 to 0.92). The MRS score correlated highly with an independent global rating, and with scores of two other mania rating scales administered concurrently. The score also correlated with the number of days of subsequent stay in hospital. It was able to differentiate statistically patients before and after two weeks of treatment and to distinguish levels of severity based on the global rating.
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                Author and article information

                JMIR Res Protoc
                JMIR Res Protoc
                JMIR Research Protocols
                JMIR Publications (Toronto, Canada )
                27 January 2023
                : 12
                : e41013
                [1 ] Centre for Addiction and Mental Health Toronto, ON Canada
                Author notes
                Corresponding Author: Yuliya Knyahnytska Yuliya.Knyahnytska@ 123456camh.ca
                Author information
                ©Yuliya Knyahnytska, Reza Zomorrodi, Tyler Kaster, Daphne Voineskos, Alisson Trevizol, Daniel Blumberger. Originally published in JMIR Research Protocols (https://www.researchprotocols.org), 27.01.2023.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work, first published in JMIR Research Protocols, is properly cited. The complete bibliographic information, a link to the original publication on https://www.researchprotocols.org, as well as this copyright and license information must be included.

                : 12 July 2022
                : 28 November 2022
                : 17 December 2022
                : 27 December 2022

                bipolar depression,suicidality,ketamine intervention,neurophysiological markers of response


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