skip to primary navigationskip to content

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Study objective

Bipolar disorder and major depression are serious mental health conditions that have a devastating impact on patients, their families and friends, and society. Currently, no laboratory test exists for these disorders. This means patients often wait years for a diagnosis, during which time they do not receive the treatment and support they need. For this reason, we are trying to develop a molecular test based on blood spots (small spots of blood obtained from patients’ fingertips that have been dried on special paper). A molecular test would provide an early, accurate diagnosis for patients with these disorders and ensure they receive prompt treatment. 

We have recently finished recruiting for this study.



Ethical approval for this study was granted by the Human Biology Research Ethics Committee (University of Cambridge; HBREC.2015.06). The consent form for participation in this study can be found here.


How the study works



How much time does it take to complete the study?

The study consists of two parts. The online questionnaire takes approximately 10 minutes to complete. If selected, it will take less than 10 minutes for you to collect a blood spot using a kit that will be mailed to your home address.

Will I be compensated?

Unfortunately, we are unable to provide any financial compensation for your participation in the study.

When will I receive my blood spot kit?

If you are selected to provide a blood spot, you will be notified by email. You should receive your blood spot kit within one week. If you have not received your kit, please contact us at

What is included in the blood spot kit?

The kit has everything you need to collect the blood spot. This includes a lancet (device used to prick your finger), prepaid envelope, consent form, blood spot collection card, and other required materials. You will need a pen to write down the time and date of blood spot collection and to complete the consent form.

When and how do I give my blood spot?

You should give your blood spot within one week of receiving the kit, being careful to follow the instructions enclosed (also found here). You may also wish to watch our instructional video to help you collect your blood spot. Your blood spot should be collected in the morning after an overnight fast (no food intake for at least 6 hours) and allowed to dry. Follow the instructions provided with the blood spot kit to give the blood spot (also available on our website). You will then use the prepaid envelope to send us your blood spot and consent form (all included in the kit).

Is giving the blood spot painful?

Giving the blood spot is very tolerable and much less painful than a full blood draw. For best results, use the side of your finger.

How can I get in touch with you?

If for any reason you need to get in touch with us, please contact us at



What are you measuring in the blood spot?

We are measuring the concentrations of over 100 proteins in your dried blood spot. To do this, we use a technique called mass spectrometry.

Can I see my results?

We cannot provide you with results of your individual blood test. However, publication of the study results using anonymized data will be announced on our website, Twitter (@Bahn_lab), and Facebook (Cambridge Centre for Neuropsychiatric Research) accounts. 

How will study results be disseminated?

Study results will be presented at scientific conferences and will be published in peer-reviewed journals. Any presented or published data will be completely anonymous.

How can I get updates on the progress of the research?

You can follow our progress on our website, Twitter (@Bahn_lab), and Facebook (Cambridge Centre for Neuropsychiatric Research) accounts. We will update these pages regularly.


Data privacy and security

Who can see my data?

Your personal data (name, address, and other contact information) will be stored securely and accessible only to researchers working on the study. Your research data will be anonymous, marked only with a code and will not contain any identifying information (i.e., the data will not be linked to your name or address).

How will you protect my data?

All communications between your browser and the Spot Depression website ( are encrypted to protect your data while it is in transit. Your personal data will be stored in a password protected (encrypted) database.  All computers accessing the study data will be protected by firewall, anti-virus, and anti-keylogging software.  All data will be regularly backed-up and stored securely.

Can I withdraw from the study?

You can withdraw from the study, for any reason and at any time, by contacting us at


If you have any questions, concerns, or are in need of more details, please contact us at

We hope that you choose to participate in our research! If you would like to take part in this study, please fill out the questionnaire at