Washington University School of Medicine

Frequently Asked Questions

Many of the studies done at the WERC involve brain imaging. WERC also conducts epidemiologic studies in the U.S. and internationally, as well as studies involving computerized cognitive training.
Those that meet specific eligibility criteria associated with the specific research study. Most people studied are between 13 and 30 years old. In general, the populations studied include healthy individuals; those with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder; and those at clinical risk for developing schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.
Between 13 and 30 years old. However age limits will vary based on the specific study.
Most research studies at WERC will require your physical presence for conducting assessments. You may participate if you live outside St. Louis as long as you are able to be present for the duration of the study.
This will depend on the specific study. Most of our brains imaging studies are done over a 2-3 day period. This includes 4-7 hours of interviews and between 1-3 hours of brain scanning.
You are not expected to clinically benefit from participating in a study. Information from our studies may eventually lead to improved diagnosis and treatment of psychiatric disorders, and to better identify those at risk of developing disorders in the future. Participating in a research study provides you with the opportunity to be a part of future advances in psychiatry.
For most studies at WERC, participants will be financially compensated for their time.
All reasonable measures to protect the confidentiality of your records and your identity will be taken. Your identity will not be revealed in any publication that may result from this study. The confidentiality of all study records will be maintained in accordance with State and Federal laws.
You will be asked to complete several questionnaires and a computerized cognitive test to obtain information about any psychiatric illness you may have and the severity of any symptoms that you are experiencing now. A trained interviewer will ask you questions that address a broad range of personal life experiences involving social, occupational, domestic, and other behaviors. Depending on the study, you may also be asked to provide a saliva sample that would be used for genetic analysis.
All interviews are conducted by a trained research staff. You may also be interviewed briefly by a psychiatrist.
At 4444 Forest Park Avenue, St. Louis.
Usually between 4-7 hours.
No, research at WERC does not involve obtaining blood.
No, we do not require any change in medications as part of our studies. If you are currently taking medications, it is recommended you continue taking these while participating in a study.
MRI stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging, and refers to a type of brain scanning. MRI uses strong magnetic fields and radiowaves to form images of the body. Learn More
No, MRI scanning does not involve radiation.
There are no known serious risks or adverse effects of MRI except for those that fall into certain risk groups. These include people with a history of metal fragments in the eye, or those with electrical, mechanical or magnetic activated implants including pacemakers and cochlear implants.
Women that are pregnant or may be pregnant need to inform the research staff. Pregnancy is a contraindication for participation in studies involving MRI.
Some people may find the narrow space in the MRI machine confining and uncomfortable. If needed, it may be possible to arrange a mock MRI scanning prior to scanning in the actual MRI machine. Being in the MRI requires you to be as still as possible to avoid blurring of the generated brain images. Breaks will be given between longer stretches of MRI scanning.
Depending on the research study involved, MRI scanning will occur over 1 or 2 days. Total scan time will be about 1 hour (for 1 day sessions) and about 3 hours (for 2 day sessions).
If you are interested in seeing if you qualify for any of the research projects conducted through WERC, please contact us via email at foster.a@wustl.edu or by phone at 314-362-6952.