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University of Pittsburgh Medical School Secures Research Funding for Beating the Blues US Trial

PITTSBURGH (May 1, 2012) – Funding for a four-year, $2.6-million study that could impact how certain mental health conditions are managed in primary care settings has been secured by Bruce L. Rollman, MD MPH, Professor of Medicine, Psychiatry, and Clinical and Translational Science at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

Dr. Rollman has received funding from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) to evaluate the effectiveness of the Beating the BluesUS online cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) program that is sold and supported by Usquared Interactive, LLC. The study will compare the computerized CBT program alone and in combination with an Internet support group versus treatment as usual for depression and anxiety. The study will involve 700 patients aged 18-75 who will be referred to the trial by physicians at a dozen or more University of Pittsburgh Medical Center-affiliated primary care practices located across western Pennsylvania.

Over 80 million Americans suffer from a mood or anxiety disorder at some point in their lives and these conditions are associated with substantial reductions in quality of life increase in use of and health services. "The study findings are likely to impact the way that certain mental health conditions are managed in primary care," said Dr. Rollman. "On-line computerized CBT programs such as Beating the Blues are new and evolving technologies that can improve patient access to personalized, convenient, and effective mental health care. We also hope our study will focus further attention on the emerging field of "e-mental health" by other U.S. investigators."

CBT is a widely-used and effective modality for people with anxiety and depression. "Beating the BluesUS's delivery of computerized CBT has proven efficacy," said Neal Ryan, M.D., a professor of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh's School of Medicine and a U2 Interactive board member. "This is important to the health care of our patients in decreasing barriers to access, providing a cost-effective approach to effective management of depression and anxiety and, for some, being a powerful adjunct to various treatment modalities."

U² Interactive, LLC, is a joint venture between the UPMC Insurance Services Division and Ultrasis UK Ltd, a London-based company that produces and supports Beating the Blues in the United Kingdom. Beating the Blues is Ultrasis's flagship product for anxiety and depression.

Full details of the study can be found at http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/study/NCT01482806.

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