Research & Publications
A focus of Dr. Blumberg's laboratory is the use of brain scanning techniques to elucidate the differences in brain circuitry that underlie mood disorders, and how these differences develop in children and adolescence and change over the lifespan into later life. The goal of the research is identify causes of the disorders to design improved treatments and preventive strategies to decrease the suffering and high risk of suicide associated with the disorders.
The lab is working intensively on genetic and environmental factors that may contribute to the brain differences and that may point to new prevention and treatment strategies. Brain scanning techniques used in this work include structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to study the size and shape of brain structures, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to study how the parts of the brain function individually and as part of brain circuits, and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) to study the connections between brain structures. In addition, the are now working with a state-of-the-art new methods to study brain function and metabolism, broadband near infrared spectroscopy (bNIRS).
Current research of the program includes study of a talk therapy to provide individuals with healthy strategies they can use to better regulate their emotions, BE-SMART (Brain Emotion Circuitry Targeted Self-Monitoring and Regulation Therapy), largely delivered by telehealth and that includes digital technologies such as wearables and smartphones.
Specialized Terms: Adolescence; Bipolar Disorder; Brain; Depression; Suicide; Development; Diffusion Tensor Imaging; Emotion; Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging; Magnetic Resonance Imaging; Mania; Manic Depressive Disorder; Neuropsychiatry; Neuroscience; Women
Extensive Research Description
Dr. Blumberg is the Director of The Yale Mood Disorders Research Program (MDRP). The MDRP is dedicated to understanding the science of mood disorders, including bipolar disorder and depression, related disorders and suicide risk. The MDRP brings together a multi-disciplinary group of scientists from across the Yale campus in a highly collaborative research effort. The scientists use a wide variety of scientific methods to study how genetic and environmental factors affect the brain and influence the expression of mood disorders across the lifespan. Goals of the MDRP include the identification of biological markers for mood and related disorders and discovery of new treatment strategies. It is hoped that these research efforts will lead to new and improved methods for early detection and treatment, and prevention, of suffering and suicide risk of the disorders.
Current studies include:
- MRI Brain Scanning Studies of Adolescents and Adults with Bipolar Disorder and Depression
- MRI Brain Scanning Studies of Healthy Adolescents and Adults
- Study of a non-medication psychobehavioral treatment "BE-SMART" to provide individuals healthy skills they can use to improve their emotion regulation, decrease symptoms of bipolar disorder and depression and reduce their suicide risk.
Adolescent Psychiatry; Bipolar Disorder; Depression; Magnetic Resonance Imaging; Psychiatry; Suicide; Mood Disorders; Diffusion Tensor Imaging; Neuropsychiatry