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Cognitive vs. Emotional Psychopharmacological Manipulations of Fear vs. Anxiety

This study is currently recruiting participants. (see Contacts and Locations)
Verified May 2014 by National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC)
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC) ( National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) ) Identifier:
First received: May 31, 2014
Last updated: NA
Last verified: May 2014
History: No changes posted


Stress and anxiety can interfere with how well people perform tasks. But performing a task can sometimes lessen anxiety by distracting people from the stress. Researchers want to examine the interaction between attention and stress. They will use two drugs with different effects on stress and concentration.


- To better understand how thinking and emotion affect anxiety and performance. Also, to study the effects of methylphenidate and propranolol on performance.


- Adults age 18 50.


  • First, participants will be screened with a test in which they hear loud, sudden noises through headphones. Sticky pad electrodes will be placed on the skin under one eye. These electrodes will tell us how sensitive participants are to the noises.
  • Second, participants will complete questionnaires about their mood, thinking, and anxiety. They will give a saliva sample. For this, a cotton swab will be placed in their mouth for 2 minutes.
  • Third, participants will take a single dose of one of the study pills or a placebo. They will then look at words, shapes, and letters on a computer monitor. They will answer questions about what they remember. They may receive a shock or hear loud noises during the tests.
  • For the shocks, small metal disk or sticky pad electrodes will be taped to a wrist or finger. For recording bodily responses, additional electrodes will be placed on the arms, body, and under each eye.
  • Blood pressure and pulse will be measured during the tests. More saliva samples will be taken.
  • At the end of the study, participants will answer questions about their reaction to the study testing and about any effects they noticed from the study pill.
  • After the experiment, participants will be evaluated for effects of the study pill.

Condition Intervention Phase
Anxiety Disorder
Drug: Propanolol
Drug: Methylphenidate
Phase 1

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Endpoint Classification: Efficacy Study
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Double-Blind
Official Title: Cognitive vs. Emotional Psycho-Pharmacological Manipulations of Fear vs. Anxiety

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC):

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Will the reduction of induced-anxiety with propranolol improve cognitive performance. [ Time Frame: 1year ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]
  • Will the facilitation of cognitive performance with methylphenidate reduce induced-anxiety. [ Time Frame: 1 year ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]

Estimated Enrollment: 69
Study Start Date: May 2014
Estimated Study Completion Date: December 2016
Estimated Primary Completion Date: December 2016 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Intervention Details:
    Drug: Propanolol
    Drug: Methylphenidate
  Show Detailed Description


Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years to 50 Years
Genders Eligible for Study:   Both
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No
  • Ages 18-50
  • Males and females
  • Subjects give their own consent


  • Previous exposure to Ritalin (MPH), or Inderal (PRO).
  • Any significant medical or neurological problems (e.g. cardiovascular illness, respiratory illness, neurologic illness, seizure, etc.)
  • Raynaud syndrome
  • IQ < 80
  • Sinus bradycardia (P< 60), or tachycardia (P> 90)
  • Significant ECG abnormality (i.e., greater than first-degree block etc.)
  • Active broncho-spastic lung disease
  • A history of visits to the emergency room because of asthma, or with recent history of asthma symptoms in the past year, which required medication treatment
  • High or low blood pressure (SBP> 140 or SBP< 90; SDP< 50 or SDP> 90)
  • A first-degree family history of mania, schizophrenia, or other psychoses based on verbal reports
  • Significant past psychopathology (e.g., hospitalization for psychiatric disorders, recurrent depression, suicide attempt, psychoses)
  • Current psychiatric disorders according to DSM-IV
  • Past alcohol/drug dependence and alcohol/drug abuse in past one year or lifetime alcohol or drug dependence
  • Current use of psychotropic medication
  • Impaired hearing
  • Pregnancy or positive pregnancy test
  • Neurological syndrome of the wrist (e.g., carpal tunnel syndrome)
  • Breastfeeding
  • Significant lab abnormalities (i.e., CBC with differential, acute care and mineral panel, hepatic panel, thyroid panel)
  • Positive urine toxicology screen
  • You have been in another study with an experimental medication within the previous month
  • Small startle reactivity (a change in EMG activity that is less than 3 times the baseline EMG activity)
  • Glaucoma
  • Current use of anti-acid medications
  Contacts and Locations
Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the Contacts provided below. For general information, see Learn About Clinical Studies.

Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT02153944

Contact: Monique Ernst, M.D. (301) 402-9355

United States, Maryland
National Institutes of Health Clinical Center, 9000 Rockville Pike Recruiting
Bethesda, Maryland, United States, 20892
Contact: For more information at the NIH Clinical Center contact Patient Recruitment and Public Liaison Office (PRPL)    800-411-1222 ext TTY8664111010   
Sponsors and Collaborators
Principal Investigator: Monique Ernst, M.D. National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
  More Information

Additional Information:
Responsible Party: National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC) ( National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) ) Identifier: NCT02153944     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: 140114, 14-M-0114
Study First Received: May 31, 2014
Last Updated: May 31, 2014
Health Authority: United States: Federal Government

Keywords provided by National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC):
Cognitive Interference

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Anxiety Disorders
Mental Disorders
Central Nervous System Agents
Central Nervous System Stimulants
Dopamine Agents
Dopamine Uptake Inhibitors
Molecular Mechanisms of Pharmacological Action
Neurotransmitter Agents
Neurotransmitter Uptake Inhibitors
Pharmacologic Actions
Physiological Effects of Drugs
Therapeutic Uses processed this record on November 23, 2014