Outpatient Psychiatry Services | Research and Innovation

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Contact the Outpatient Psychiatry Service

  • 1-617-355-6680

Outpatient Psychiatry team members are engaged in important scientific research with real implications for better predicting, understanding, treating and one day preventing mental illness in children and young adults. Some of our research projects include:

Enabling early detection of psychosis and pre-psychosis in children

Boston Children’s is a clinical study site for the wide-scale Schizophrenia Prodrome Research Project. In addition to recruiting participants for this important study, we are extending screening services for psychosis to include younger children, as well. The goal of this project is to develop early identification methods that will enable earlier intervention—and eventually, to prevent children with pre-psychosis symptoms from developing actual psychosis.

Battling spaceships to help kids overcome anger

Regulate and Gain Emotional Control (RAGE-Control) is a computer video game to help children improve their ability to regulate emotions. Disorders that affect emotional regulation—especially those conditions that are accompanied by aggressive outbursts—can be very disabling, and are often treated with powerful medications, including anti-psychotic drugs. Using insights from the neuroscience of emotional regulation, the RAGE-Control game teaches children and adolescents to gain better control of their emotional responses by achieving certain targets.

Using the popular arcade staple “Space Invaders” as a model, RAGE-Control teaches children to simultaneously focus, react, inhibit impulses and keep their heart rate down in the context of the traditional space battle game. Read more about the RAGE-Control game.

Looking for biomarkers in developmental disorders

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and Evoked Response Potentials (ERP) are non-invasive ways to stimulate the brain and measure how its neurons become stimulated, or “excited”; how certain processes in and within the brain’s cortex are inhibited; and how readily connections between certain neurons can be altered by experiences. Boston Children’s researchers are exploring these measures as potential biomarkers that can be tracked in autism spectrum disorders, other developmental disorders and in schizophrenia.

TMS and ERP biomarkers may be able to aid in early identification of psychiatric and neurological disorders—and might also offer a new way to measure how well treatments are correcting the neurochemical abnormalities causing these conditions. TMS biomarkers may be able to aid in early identification of psychiatric and neurological disorders—and might also offer a new way to measure how well treatments are correcting the neurochemical abnormalities causing these conditions.

We are grateful to have been ranked #1 on U.S. News & World Report's list of the best children's hospitals in the nation for the third year in a row, an honor we could not have achieved without the patients and families who inspire us to do our very best for them. Thanks to you, Boston Children's is a place where we can write the greatest children's stories ever told.”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO

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