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J Affect Disord. 2001 Dec;67(1-3):33-44.

The Stanley Foundation Bipolar Treatment Outcome Network. I. Longitudinal methodology.

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  • 1Biological Psychiatry Branch, National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, MD 20892-1272, USA.


The NIMH-Stanley Foundation Bipolar Treatment Outcome Network, a multisite clinical trials network, has been established to address many of the neglected areas of research in bipolar illness. The Network was designed so that it would be able to conduct randomized clinical trials at several different levels of methodologic rigor (blinded and open-label) both in academic and community practice settings in order to better assess long-term efficacy of existing treatments and develop new ones. In this fashion, large numbers of representative patients with bipolar disorder have been enrolled with an additional focus of elucidating possible clinical and biological predictors of treatment response. The unique focus of the Network is its systematic longitudinal approach to illness so that patients can be assessed comprehensively over the long-term in sequential randomized clinical trials at critical clinical decision points where data on relative efficacy are inadequate. Bipolar I and bipolar II patients with a range of illness variants and comorbidities are included. Daily prospective ratings of severity of mania and depression and associated degree of functional impairment are completed on the NIMH-Life Chart Method and a modified Clinical Global Impressions Scale for Bipolar Illness (CGI-BP) is utilized. More detailed cross-sectional ratings for depression (Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology), mania (Young Mania Rating Scale), and psychosis (Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale) are additionally used at academic centers. This article describes the rationale for the Network, its guiding principles, methods, and study design to systematically assess the highly variable course of bipolar illness and its response to current and future treatments.

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