for people ages 9-19 (full criteria)
study started
completion around
Principal Investigator
by David J Miklowitz, PhD (ucla)



This is a naturalistic treatment and follow-up study of youth with bipolar spectrum disorders (BSDs) across four US sites of The Childhood Bipolar Network (CBN). CBN sites have expertise in diagnosing, assessing, and treating BSDs in youth. The primary aims of this study are to (1) identify and reliably diagnose youth (ages 9 to 19 yrs) with full bipolar disorder (BD) and BSDs, and (2) examine predictors (e.g., mood instability, inflammatory marker C-reactive protein) of clinical outcome over a 12 month period. Participating youth will initially complete a screening that includes a structured diagnostic interview and a baseline blood draw to measure inflammatory processes. Youth with BSD and parents (80 families) will be asked to participate in multiple follow up research visits with interviews, rating instruments, and questionnaires. Per established CBN guidelines, study psychiatrists will provide and track medication management and sites will also track psychosocial treatments. This study ultimately aims to further understanding of best practice pediatric BSD psychiatric and psychosocial treatments and development of a standardized and validated set of clinical tools for patient assessment, diagnosis, and tracking.

Official Title

A Collaborative Treatment Network for Youth With or at High Risk for Bipolar Disorder


Study Background and Significance

Cross-site research networks for specific childhood diseases have led to important treatment advances, such as guidance of optimizing treatments for individual patients and significant reductions in childhood mortality. The Childhood Bipolar Network (CBN) is a similar type of research collaboration developed to support advancements to the understanding and treatment of pediatric bipolar spectrum disorders (BSDs), starting with this first study. The study builds on recent advances in the early identification and reliable diagnosis of pediatric BSDs. It also builds on advances in treatment for youth with or at high risk for BSD, such as the finding from randomized clinical trials showing that family intervention plus pharmacotherapy is consistently associated with superior symptomatic, suicidal, and functional outcomes compared with either usual care or supportive therapy plus pharmacotherapy.

Specific Aims of the Study

The aims of the first study with 80 youth are to (1) identify and reliably diagnose diverse youth (9 to 19 yrs) with BSD I, II, and Other Specified Bipolar Disorder (OSBD, formerly called Bipolar Disorder Not Otherwise Specified) across collaborative clinics in the US; and (2) examine predictors of 1-year treatment response in youth with BSDs, using treatment methods and instrumentation harmonized across four sites. This study will examine mood instability and an inflammatory marker based on a blood test (C-reactive protein) as primary predictors of outcomes.

Study phases and outcomes include: I. Recruitment and screening, II. Intake (blood draw, medical history, structured diagnostic interview, youth mood symptom and instability measures, youth and family functioning measures), III. Weekly parent online reporting on youth symptoms and functioning, IV. Follow-up at 6 and 12 months for repeated measures and relevant updates.

Study milestones will include cross-site harmonization of assessment and treatment methods, validation of a mood instability phenotype, and development of an open trial infrastructure for novel treatments for youth with or at risk for BSD. The development of a standardized BSD clinical assessment and care procedure across US centers is critical to the broader effort to develop robust treatment algorithms and empirically based guidelines for use in a wide variety of national and international health care settings with culturally heterogeneous populations of youth with or at risk for BSD.


Bipolar Disorder, Bipolar I Disorder, Bipolar II Disorder, Other Specified Bipolar and Related Disorder, Mood Instability, Child Mental Disorder, Adolescent - Emotional Problem, medication, psychosocial, treatment, longitudinal, naturalistic, assessment, Mental Disorders, Neurodevelopmental Disorders, Bipolar and Related Disorders, Medication or psychosocial treatment


You can join if…

Open to people ages 9-19

  • Youth 9-19 years old
  • Youth diagnosed with Bipolar disorder (I, II, Other Specified) or Cyclothymic Disorder by the study team during the diagnostic interview screening
  • Youth is able to read and communicate in English to the degree necessary to be able to assent and participate (with help) in their treatment and assessments appropriate for ages 9 and up
  • Youth has a caregiver able to participate in ongoing basis in assessment and treatment
  • The participating caregiver can reliably read and communicate in English for purposes of study consenting, assessment, and treatment, unless preferred language translation services are regularly available.

You CAN'T join if...

  • Youth has DSM-5 diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder
  • Youth has DSM-5 diagnosis of substance or alcohol abuse with impairment within 3 mos.
  • Youth has a medical or psychiatric disorder that is life-threatening or requires immediate hospitalization or emergency medical or therapeutic treatment
  • Evidence of recent sexual or physical abuse of the youth by legally responsible caregivers
  • Evidence of recent intimate partner violence between caregivers responsible for the youth's care


  • University of California, Los Angeles, Max Gray Child and Adolescent Mood Disorders Program (CHAMP) accepting new patients
    Los Angeles California 90024 United States
  • University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Helen and Arthur E. Johnson Depression Center accepting new patients by invitation only
    Aurora Colorado 80045 United States
  • University of Pittsburgh Child and Adolescent Bipolar Spectrum Services Clinic (CABS) accepting new patients by invitation only
    Pittsburgh Pennsylvania 15213 United States
  • Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center accepting new patients by invitation only
    Richmond Virginia 23298 United States

Lead Scientist at University of California Health

  • David J Miklowitz, PhD (ucla)
    Professor-in-Residence, Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, Medicine. Authored (or co-authored) 261 research publications