Etkin Lab
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An Observational Study on Anti-Depressant Medications

International Study to Predict the Optimized Treatment of Depression

Map of the WorldISPOT-D is currently the largest Personalized Medicine research study in mental health. It has the potential to change the way we treat depression. At present there is no way to objectively select the most effective antidepressant medication to be prescribed in the first instance. Over 165 clinical, cognitive, functional, structural and genomic brain and body measures are being collected to find markers that can predict the treatment response and non-response. This will help personalize the treatment of depression.

The Etkin Lab is a collaborator on the ISPOT-D study, and by combining EEG and fMRI technology with clinical evaluations and genetic analysis, we are able to better predict treatment response. If you are interested in progressing global understanding of depression treatment and wish to participate, you will be offered one of three commonly prescribed medications, Zoloft, Effexor and Lexapro. You will also come in for two study visits as outline below:

What Does the Study Involve?
If you qualify, you will be asked to visit Stanford once to begin participation in the study and a second time 8 weeks after your first visit. During these 2 visits, you will participate in:

  • Clinical Psychological Assessments (Interview)
  • Blood and Urine collection
  • Electroencephalography (EEG)
  • Neuropsychological Testing
  • Functional MRI

Throughout the study, participants will be monitored for changes in symptoms, medication, medication side-effects, and quality of life via phone calls and online assessments. Participants will be reimbursed for their time of participation in the study (up to $560).

After the initial visit to the center, participants will be randomized to one of three commonly prescribed antidepressants: Sertraline (Zoloft), Escitalopram (Lexapro), or Venlafaxine XR (Effexor XR). Participants will be fully aware and informed about the antidepressant treatment they are prescribed. All treatments will be monitored by our study staff and your own physician.

Study Sponsor


Study Criteria
If you’re interested in participating in our ISPOT-D study as a treatment option for your depression, the first step is for you to schedule a phone interview with our clinical staff to talk more about the treatment and assess whether it’s a safe and worthwhile option for you.  We do have some baseline criteria for participants for this study, so in order to save yourself time, please verify that you meet this criteria before making an appointment. If you don’t qualify for this study, we do have other with different criteria.

  • Age 18-65
  • Literate and fluent in English
  • Not pregnant or currently breastfeeding

Book Appointment now  


For more information on what to expect from the study procedures discussed above:

What to expect from a fMRI:

What to expect from an EEG

What to expect from TMS:


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