Northwestern trial to determine accuracy of technology to predict accuracy of antidepressants

The Asher Center for the Study and Treatment of Depressive Disorders and the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, is the only center in the Midwest participating in a national trial called Biomarkers for Rapid Identification of Treatment Effectiveness in Major Depression (BRITE-MD), which seeks to determine the accuracy of brain monitoring technology to predict the effectiveness of various antidepressant medications.

Researchers analyze the areas of the brain associated with mood, and presumably where antidepressant medications have an effect, using the electroencephalogram (EEG), a medical test that measures electrical activity of the brain via electrodes applied to the surface of the forehead.

"Currently, determining whether a patient will respond to medication is done largely through trial and error based on past medication experience, side-effect profile, and family and personal response history. In many cases, it can take several months before a patient feels better," said William Gilmer, MD, psychiatrist at Northwestern Memorial, associate professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, and principal investigator for the Northwestern site. "Through the BRITE-MD trial, we hope to show that this technology could be effective in determining much earlier possibly within a week or two whether a patient is likely to respond to a specific medication. This may be before either the patient or doctor has seen a change in symptoms. Ultimately, we hope this technology will help patients recover more quickly by providing information that will help in choosing the best medication for a particular patient."

Preliminary analysis of studies on the technology in Boston and Los Angeles found that it was able to predict response to anti-depressant treatment with accuracies as high as 83 percent. For more than 18.8 million Americans suffering from depression, this type of technology could mean less waiting while clinicians identify a medication that will have positive effect. more


The trial, which is currently recruiting participants, is open to men and women between ages 21-75 who have been diagnosed with major depression with the most recent episode lasting two or more weeks, and who are not currently on a stable medication regimen. Participants in the trial will be evaluated, placed on FDA-approved medication (Lexapro, Wellbutrin XL or a combination) and closely monitored for 13 weeks; EEG monitoring will be done at 7 visits.

The study is blinded and neither physicians nor participants will have access to the EEG read outs until the conclusion of the nationwide trial. Upon completing the 13-week trial, participants will be provided referrals for maintenance of medication and treatment. Interested participants should call 312-926-8400.

The device is manufactured by Aspect Medical Systems, which is the sole sponsor of the trial. Aspect Medical has approved this release.

About Northwestern Memorial Hospital
Northwestern Memorial Hospital is one of the country's premier academic medical centers and is the primary teaching hospital of Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine. Northwestern Memorial and its Prentice Women's Hospital and Stone Institute of Psychiatry have 744 beds and more than 1,400 affiliated physicians and 5,000 employees. Providing state-of-the-art care, Northwestern Memorial is recognized for its outstanding clinical and surgical advancements in such areas as cardiothoracic and vascular care, gastroenterology, neurology and neurosurgery, oncology, organ and bone marrow transplantation and women's health.

Northwestern Memorial was the sole recipient of the prestigious 2005 National Quality Health Care Award and eight of its medical specialties are listed in this year's U.S. News & World Report's issue of "America's Best Hospitals." The hospital also has been cited as one of the "100 Best Companies for Working Mothers" by Working Mother magazine six consecutive years and has been chosen by Chicago-area consumers for more than a decade as their "most preferred hospital" in National Research Corporation's annual survey.

About Aspect Medical Systems, Inc.
Aspect Medical Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: ASPM) is a global market leader in brain monitoring technology. Aspect's BIS technology directly measures the effects of anesthetics and sedatives on the brain, and is in use in Northwestern Memorial Hospital operating rooms. BIS technology has been used to assess more than 13.1 million patients and has been the subject of approximately 2,200 published articles and abstracts. BIS technology is installed in approximately 41 percent of all domestic operating rooms and is available in more than 160 countries. Aspect Medical Systems has OEM agreements with seven leading manufacturers of patient monitoring systems. Aspect is also investigating how other methods of analyzing EEG may aid in the diagnosis and management of neurological diseases, including depression and Alzheimer's disease. Based in Newton, Mass., Aspect employs approximately 200 people worldwide. For more information, visit Aspect's Web site at

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 30 Apr 2016
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