A cohort study of neuromodulation interventions for major depressive disorder

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This joint PhD project is based at the Shanghai Jiao Tong University with a minimum 12-month stay at The University of Melbourne.

The main objectives of this project are to:

  • Explore the efficacy, safety and long-term effects of non-invasive neuromodulation techniques in the treatment of major depressive disorder and to provide data for the establishment of prediction models.

Project description

This study aims to explore the efficacy, safety and long-term effects of non-invasive neuromodulation techniques on major depressive disorder, and to provide data for establishing a prediction model. 400 patients will be recruited and randomly assigned to one of four treatment groups.

Patients will be assessed at baseline and at two weeks, four weeks, eight weeks, three months, six months, and one year after enrolment. Efficacy of different treatments will be analysed based on reduction in HAMD scores, response rates and recurrence rates. A prediction model will be built upon their demographic and clinical data utilising machine learning methodologies.

Patients who demonstrate a lack of response in their treatment group will have the opportunity to enter another treatment group of their choice. The long-term follow-up time points are 12, 24, 36 and 48 weeks after treatment. Depressive symptoms will be assessed to determine whether recurrence occurs.

All participants will be recruited in Shanghai and followed up by the SJTU research group.  Shanghai has a much larger pool of eligible patients compared to Melbourne, and the advantage of establishing the project in Shanghai is the accessibility of a large patient sample. Once all follow-up activities are completed and data are collected, the joint PhD candidate will conduct data analysis and prediction model building in Melbourne.

The University of Melbourne has advanced data analysis capabilities to enable these tasks. The candidate will also benefit from strong training in research writing and clinical research support from The University of Melbourne.

The project will be complemented by the project 'Brain imaging predictors of rapid treatment response to low-dose ketamine in patients with severe depression' and the collaboration will ensure the successful completion of both  projects.

Supervision team

Professor Yiru Fang (Shanghai Jiao Tong University)

Professor Christopher Davey (The University of Melbourne)

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