Task Forces

Active Task Forces

Big Data Analytics in Bipolar Disorder

Lead: Flavio Kapczinski, Canada; Ives Calalcante Passos, Brazil

Members:  Anne Duffy, Canada; Benicio Frey, Canada; Benno Haarman, Netherlands; Benson Mwangi, USA; Boris Birmaher, USA; Carlos Lopez Jaramillo, Colombia; Diego Librenza-Garcia, Brazil; Diego Hidalgo-Mazzei, Spain; Eduard Vieta, Spain; Elisa Brietzke, Canada; Erkki Isometsa, Finland; Lakshmi Yatham, Canada; Lars Vedel Kessing, Denmark; Luciano Minuzzi, Canada; Martin Alda, Canada; Raymond Lam, Canada; Rodrigo Mansur, Canada; Roger McIntyre, Canada; Tomas Hajek, Canada

Overview:  Big data is a broad term used to denote large volumes of complex measurements with high velocity and variety.  As opposed to traditional statistical methods big data analytics powered by machine learning allow predictions and stratification of clinical outcomes at the level of an individual subject.  We believe, therefore, that new statistical tools and technologies from the field of machine learning will be critical for anyone practicing medicine, psychiatry, and behavioral sciences in the 21st century.  This task force aims to put together leading researchers in the field of bipolar disorder, big data and machine learning.  The goals to be discussed would be how these techniques 1) will give clinicians a broad perspective about how clinical decisions such as selection of treatment options, preventive strategies, prognosis orientations, and conversion to bipolar disorder can be changed by big data approach; 2) will address clinical heterogeneity and help to build more consistent clinical phenotypes of bipolar disorder; 3) will empower researchers with a different way to conceptualize studies in BD by using big data analytics approach.  In addition, we also aim to discuss challenges in terms of what data could be used without jeopardizing individual privacy and freedom and the limitations of big data analytics.  


Chronobiology and Chronotherapy of Bipolar Disorders

Lead: John Gottlieb, USA 

Members: Lauren Alloy, USA; Michael Bauer, Germany; Frank Bellivier, France; Hilary Blumberg, USA; Joanne Carpenter, Australia; Jacob Crouse, Australia;  Marie Crowe, New Zealand; Yuichi Esaki, Japan; Bruno Etain, France; Benicio Frey, Canada; Corrado Garbazza, Switzerland; Pierre Geoffroy, France; Namni Goel, USA; Alexandra Gold, USA; Robert Gonzalez, USA; Benno Haarman, Netherlands; Vincent Hennion, France; Tone Henriksen, Norway; Ian Hickie, Australia; Maria Hidalgo, Brazil; Maree Inder, New Zealand; Harvard Kallestad, Norway; Piyumi Kahawage, Australia; Seong Jae Kim, Korea; Raymond Lam, Canada; Helle Madsen, Denmark; Klaus Martiny, Denmark; Cynthia Marie-Claire, France; Michael McCarthy, USA; Colleen McClung, USA; Elise McGlashan, Australia; Ybe Meesters, Netherlands; Kathleen Merikangas, USA; Gunnar Morken, Norway; Emma Morton, Canada; Julia Maruani, France; Greg Murray, Australia; Robin Nusslock, USA; Melissa Oliveira, Brazil; Laura Palagini, Italy; Jim Phelps, USA; Richard Porter, New Zealand; Rixt Riemersma, Netherlands; Phil Ritter, Germany; Raphael Schulte, Netherlands; Jan Scott, UK; Dorothy Sit, USA; Anastasiya Slyepchenko, Canada; Daniel Smith, UK; Kai-Florian Storch, Canada; Holly Swartz, USA; Joe Wu, USA; Xin Yu, China; Ni Xu, China; Jamie Zeiter, USA


Overview statement:

We are a group of clinicians, academicians, and researchers committed to the study of rhythmic dysfunction in bipolar disorders and to the application of this chronobiologic knowledge to rhythm-modifying treatments effective for this illness.  We have completed three important and substantive reviews in this area, one on chronotherapeutic treatments, another on chronobiologic assessment methods, and a third on the chronobiology of bipolar disorder proper.  Our current work is focusing on several projects directed at dissemination and education of this information to mental health professionals and individuals with affective illness.



  1. To promote the chronobiologic study of bipolar disorders

  2. To support the development of effective chronotherapeutic treatments for bipolar disorders

  3. To educate the lay public, individuals with this illness, and mental health professionals on this area

  4. To provide a forum for specialists in this area to share their work and obtain constructive input on clinical and research ideas


Early Intervention for Bipolar Disorder

Leads: Chair- Michael Berk, Australia; Co-Chairs- Steven Marwaha, UK and Aswin Ratheesh, Australia

Members: Lesley Berk, Australia; Philippe Conus, Switzerland; Mary Fristad, USA; Tina Goldstein, USA; Manon Hillegers, The Netherlands; Sameer Jauhar; UK; Lars Kessing, Denmark; David Miklowitz, USA; Greg Murray, Australia; Jan Scott, UK; Mauricio Tohen, USA; Lakshmi Yatham, Canada; Allan Young, UK 

Overview Statement:  

Early intervention aims to address the needs of the needs of people with emerging BD before the onset of persistent or impairing illness. This could include efforts at primary prevention of the disorder or secondary prevention of recurrence or disability. We will summarize the current literature in this area and highlight the need for future research, translation and advocacy for those in the early course of illness.



  1. Review the literature and develop recommendations for clinical practice and future research in the early course of Bipolar Disorder
  2. Refine the nomenclature regarding early intervention, staging and early illness course
  3. Advocating for higher quality research and enhanced translation of early interventions in BD


Older Adults with Bipolar Disorder (OABD) 

Leads:  Annemeik Dols, The Netherlands; Lisa Eyler, USA

Members: Osvaldo Almeida, Australia; Hilary Blumberg, USA; PJ Chen, USA; Brent Forester, USA; Jennifer Gatchel, USA; Ari Gildengers, USA; Esther Jimenez, Spain;  Lars Vedel Kessing, Denmark; Paula Nunes, Brazil; Andrew Olagunju, Canada; William Regenold, USA; Soham Rej, Canada; Martha Sajatovic, USA; Sigfried Schouws, The Netherlands; Sergio Strejilevich, Argentina; Rajesh Tampi, USA; Shang-ying Tsai, Taiwan; Eduard Vieta, Spain

Overview Statement:

The world's population is aging, yet less attention has focused on understanding how bipolar disorder manifests in later life.  The task force is a group of international experts focused on improving outcomes for older-age patients with bipolar disorder (OABD).  The OABD Task Force was established in 2012, and is currently in what we may term Phase/Wave 3 - where one of the main activities is to pool data between international sites and work on projects together using previously collected archival data from completed studies (e.g. with the recent GAGE-BD grant 2018-2021).  Phase 1 was a task force report, while Phase 2 involved different OABD reviews of the literature.  Phase 4, it is hoped, would eventually be to create guidelines for prospective data collection for an OABD clinical research consortium that would conduct novel, global investigations.  In addition, several related projects can be embedded in the taskforce, with an overall goal to provide relevant and evidence-based guidance on diagnosis and treatment specific for OABD. 


  1. Create awareness of the clinical phenotype of aging in BD including cognitive and somatic comorbidities
  2. Provide information to people with OABD, their family members, and their treating clinicians about evidence-based practice for diagnosis, treatment, and improving quality of life outcomes
  3. Facilitate global collaborative work to understand the aging process for those living with bipolar disorder and the unique needs of people with OABD
  4. Investigate shared and unique features of OABD and its treatment across different countries

Click here to see the task force update.


Role of Lithium in Bipolar Disorders

This task force is a collaboration between the ISBD and the International Group for the Study of Lithium Treated Patients (IGSLi)

Leads: Michael Bauer, Germany; Emanuel Severus, Germany

Members: Martin Alda, Canada; Jay D Amsterdam, USA; Ross J Baldessarini, USA; Anne Berghöfer, Germany; Michael Berk, Australia; Alberto Bocchetta, Italy; Charles Bowden, USA; Thomas Bschor, Denmark; Cynthia Calkins, Canada; Joseph Calabrese, USA; André F Carvalho, Brazil; De-Maw Chuang, USA; Andrea Cipriani, UK; Anne Duffy, Canada; Kostas Fountoulakis, Greece; Mark Frye, USA; John Geddes, UK; Michael Gitlin, USA; Ana Gonzalez-Pinto, Spain; Guy Goodwin, UK; Paul Grof, Canada; Tomas Hajek, Canada; Lars Vedel Kessing, Denmark; Ralph Kupka, The Netherlands; Ute Lewizka, Germany; Rasmus Licht, Denmark; Carlos López Jamamillo, Colombia; Rodrigo Machado-Vieira, USA; Gin Malhi, Australia; Husseini Manji, USA; Bruno Müller-Oerlinghausen, Germany; Rene Ernst Nielsen, Denmark; Andrew Nierenberg, USA; Willem Nolen, The Netherlands; Michael Ostacher, USA; Isabella Pacchiarotti, Spain; Andrea Pfennig, Germany; Robert Post, USA; Janusz Rybakowski, Poland; Gary Sachs, USA; Thomas Schulze, Germany; Christian Simhandl, Austria; Jair Soares, USA; Trisha Suppes, USA; Mauricio Tohen, USA; Leonardo Tondo, USA; Eduard Vieta, Spain; Allan Young, UK; Trevor L Young, Canada; Carlos Zarate, USA

To provide input to clinicians on the evidence base, the role, and the best use of lithium in patients with bipolar disorders.  



Leads: Martin Alda, Canada; Flavio Kapczinski, Canada; Ralph Kupka, The Netherlands

Members: Jorge Almeida, USA; Ana Andreazza, Canada; Vicent Balanzá, Spain; Ross Baldessarini, USA; Michael Berk, Australia; Boris Birmaher, USA; David Bond, USA; Eliza Brietzke, Brazil; Ines Chendo, Portugal; USA; Anne Duffy, Canada; Benicio Frey, Canada; Iria Grande, Spain; Tomas Hajek, Canada; Manon Hillegers, The Netherlands; Rodrigo Mansur, Brazil; Robert Post, USA; USA; Jan Scott, UK; Marcia Kauer Sant’Anna, Brazil; Mauricio Tohen, USA; Gustavo Vazquez, Canada; Eduard Vieta, Spain; Lakshmi Yatham, Canada


Targeting Cognition

Lead: Kamilla Miskowiak, Denmark

Members: Vicent Balanzá, Spain; Christopher Bowie, Canada; Kate Burdick, USA; Andre Carvalho, Canada; Caterina del Mar Bonnin, Spain; Annemiek Dols, Netherlands; Katie Douglas, New Zealand;  Peter Gallagher, UK; Gregor Hasler, Switzerland; Lars Kessing, Denmark; Benny Lafer, Brazil; K. Eve Lewandowski, USA; Carlos Lopez-Jaramillo, Colombia; Anabel Martinez-Aran, Spain; Roger McIntyre, Canada; Richard Porter, New Zealand; Scot Purdon, Canada; Ayal Schaffer, Canada; Paul Stokes, UK; Tomiki Sumiyoshi, Japan; Ivan Torres, Canada; Tamsyn Van Rheenen, Australia; Eduard Vieta, Spain; Lakshmi Yatham, Canada; Allan Young, UK


There are no clinically available treatments for cognitive impairments in bipolar disorder despite intense research interest into novel treatments and a pressing clinical need for cognition treatments to improve prognosis, enhance functional recovery and reduce societal costs.  The lack of effective treatments is partially due to major methodological challenges in the field.  The objectives of the task force are therefore to create:

  1. For researchers: Guidance for the methodology and design of cognition trials in bipolar disorder based on the methodological lessons learnt from extant cognition trials.
  2. For clinicians: Clinical recommendations on how to address cognitive impairments in the clinical management of bipolar disorder. 
  3. For patients: Patient booklet with information about the nature of cognitive impairments in bipolar disorder and a practical guide on how to facilitate cognitive capacity (sleep, alcohol, breaks, etc.) and for how to compensate for the cognitive problems in daily life. 



Leads: Benjamin Goldstein, Canada; Jess Fiedorowicz, Canada

Members: Bernhard Baune, Australia; David Bond, USA; Pao-Huan Chen, Taiwan; Lisa Eyler, USA; Andrea Fagiolini, Italy; Fabiano Gomes, Canada; Tomas Hajek, Canada; Susan McElroy, USA; Roger McIntyre, Canada; Abigail Ortiz, Canada; Miguel Prieto, Chile; Louisa Sylvia, USA; Shang-Ying Tsai, Taiwan 


The goals of this task force are to summarize the state of the literature regarding vascular factors and bipolar disorder, and to articulate an agenda for future progress.  It is well recognized that bipolar disorder is associated with elevated vascular risk, that this risk exceeds what can be explained by traditional cardiovascular risk factors (e.g. obesity, hypertension), that this risk is associated with bipolar disorder subtypes and with mood symptom burden, and that this risk is observed internationally.  Perhaps less recognized are the implications that the bipolar-vascular link has on biomarker discovery, novel therapeutic approaches, and stigma reduction efforts.  This task force will undertake efforts to consolidate, distill, contextualize, and critique the extant literature, and will take steps toward knowledge translation and dissemination through a primary manuscript, web-based lecture series, and engagement of stake holders including colleagues in other branches of medicine, allied health professions, and consumer advocacy groups, for the purpose of maximizing impact.  



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The 22nd Annual Conference (originally scheduled to take place in Chicago) will be held virtually from June 18-21, 2020.   Check out conference information & upcoming important dates.