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Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Neuropsychiatry Research

Master
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The following are current research projects in the Division of Neuropsychiatry.

The division’s research portfolio includes projects with extramural and intramural support. Below are current projects with (primarily) extramural funding led by faculty whose primary appointments are in the division as well as completed projects within the division’s research portfolio since its inception (Fall 2012); a list of internally-funded project is available on request.

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Multicenter Evaluation of Memory Remediation after Traumatic Brain Injury with Donepezil (the MEMRI-TBI-D Study)

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Funding Agency: Department of Health and Human Services, National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR)
Project Identifier: 90DP0060; see https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02255799
Principal Investigator/Project Director: David B. Arciniegas, M.D.
Participating Division Member(s): David B. Arciniegas, M.D. (National Principal Investigator/Project Director), Joanne A. Byars, M.D. (Co-Investigator)
Project Dates: Oct. 1, 2013 - Sept. 29, 2018
Project Description: The MEMRI-TBI-D Study is a NIDRR-funded, five-year, four-site, randomized, parallel design, double-blind, placebo-controlled, 10-week trial that will evaluate the effect of donepezil on treatment for functionally important verbal memory problems among 160 individuals (age 18-60 years) who sustained a complicated mild, moderate, or severe non-penetrating TBI six to 36 months prior to study participation.

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Texas TBI Model System of TIRR

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Funding Agency: Department of Health and Human Services, National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR)
Project Identifier: 90DP0028
Principal Investigator/Project Director: Mark Sherer, Ph.D. (TIRR Memorial Hermann)
Participating Division Member(s): David B. Arciniegas, M.D. (Co-Investigator/Medical Director), Angelle Sander, Ph.D. (Co-Investigator)
Project Dates: Oct. 1, 2012 - Sept. 30, 2017
Project Description: This project will contribute to the TBI Model Systems (TBIMS) National Database, implement an extensive program of TBI information and consumer education activities, and conduct a local, randomized controlled trial of a novel psychotherapy (TBI-adapted, manualized acceptance and commitment therapy) for emotional distress in persons with TBI.

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Translational Research Center for TBI and Stress Related Disorders (TRACTS) Houston

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Funding Agency: Veterans Administration
Project Identifier: B9268-X
Principal Investigator: Regina McGlinchey, Ph.D. (Boston VA)
Participating Division Member(s): Ricardo Jorge, M.D. (Network Site Principal Investigator)
Project Dates: Sept. 1, 2014 - June 30, 2019
Project Description: The aims of this project are: to develop a well characterized cohort of OIF/OEF/OND Veterans with which to evaluate the influence of TBI on physical and psychological health through medical, psychological, and psychiatric assessment, genetic profiling, and structural and functional neuroimaging; and to translate this information into interventional studies designed to improve the lives of Veterans with TBI and stress disorders.

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Rivastigmine Patch in Veterans with Cognitive Impairment following TBI (RIVET)

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Funding Agency: Veterans Administration, Office of R&D
Project Identifier: CX000239; see https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/study/NCT01670526
Principal Investigator: Olga Brawman-Mintzer, M.D. (Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center/Medical University of South Carolina)
Participating Division Member(s): David B. Arciniegas, M.D. (Co-Investigator, Executive Committee Member), Ricardo Jorge, M.D. (Site Principal Investigator)
Project Dates: July 1, 2012 - June 30, 2017
Project Description: The goal of this project is to perform a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled multicenter study evaluating the safety and efficacy of the rivastigmine patch as a treatment for persistent memory impairments among Veterans with TBI, with pre- and post-treatment assessments using neuropsychological measures.

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Mission Connect Mild TBI Translational Research Consortium

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Funding Agency: Department of Defense, with sub-project supplemental funding from the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center and the Beth K. and Stuart C. Yudofsky Division of Neuropsychiatry
Project Identifier: W81XWH0820132, BCM AN-612
Principal Investigator: Claudia Robertson, M.D. (BCM Department of Neurosurgery)
Sub-Project: Developing a Model of Repetitive Mild Traumatic Brain Injury
Sub-Project Dates: Feb. 3, 2014 - July 22, 2016
Sub-Project Principal Investigator: John I. Broussard, Ph.D.
Participating Division member(s): John I. Broussard, Ph.D. (Sub-project Principal Investigator), Ricardo Jorge, M.D. (consultant), David B. Arciniegas, M.D. (consultant)
Sub-Project Dates: Feb. 3, 2014 - July 18, 2015
Sub-Project Description: The goal of this project is to develop a controlled cranial impact (CCrI) model of rmTBI with which to examine the acute and chronic sensorimotor, cognitive, behavioral, and histopathological consequences of this injury, and compared these outcome measures with those of single CCrI.

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Chronic Effects of Neurotrauma Consortium

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Funding Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs/Department of Defense
Principal Investigator: David Cifu, M.D., PI (Virginia Commonwealth University)
Sub-Project: Pituitary Dysfunction in Veterans with Mild TBI
Sub-Project Principal Investigators: Jose Manuel Garcia, M.D. and Ricardo Jorge, M.D.
Participating Division Member(s): Ricardo Jorge, M.D. (Co-Principal Investigator)
Sub-Project Dates: Oct. 1, 2015 - Sept. 30, 2016
Sub-Project Description: The objectives of this study are to examine the frequency of growth hormone deficiency (GHD) in Veterans with mild TBI and to explore the extent to which GHD is associated with anxiety, depression, fatigue and overall quality of life in this population.

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Million Veteran Program (MVP): A Partnership with Veterans

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Funding Agency: Veterans Administration
Project Identifier: CSP-G002
Principal Investigator: J. Michael Gaziano, M.D., MPH (VA Boston Healthcare System)
Participating Division Member(s): Laura Marsh, M.D. (Site Co-Principal Investigator)
Project Dates: Jan. 1, 2011 - Dec. 31, 2018
Project Description: The goal of MVP is to partner with Veterans receiving their care in the VA Healthcare System to study how genes affect health.

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Telehealth Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Depression in Parkinson's Disease

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Funding Agency: Veterans Administration
Project Identifier: IIR-14-353-2
Principal Investigator: Alejandro Interian, Ph.D. (Rutgers)
Participating Division Member(s): Laura Marsh, M.D. (Consultant)
Project Dates: Oct. 1, 2015 - Sept. 30, 2019
Project Description: A randomized controlled trial to examine the effectiveness of Telehealth-Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for depression in Veterans with Parkinson’s Disease. This CBT intervention has been adapted to address Parkinson’s disease-specific needs, to provide caregiver support and training, and to be compatible with remote delivery.

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Defining Interventions for Depression in Parkinson’s Disease (DID-PD)

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Funding Agency: National Parkinson Foundation
Project Identifier: (NA)
Principal Investigator: Laura Marsh, M.D.
Participating Division Member(s): Laura Marsh, M.D. (Principal Investigator)
Project Dates: June 1, 2015 - May 31, 2019
Project Description: The goal of this project is to identify the barriers, facilitators and preferences of clinicians and patients regarding potential models of depression care delivery applicable to Parkinson’s disease.

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Assessment of Diverse Biological Indicators in Gulf War Illness: Are They Replicable? Are They Related?

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Funding Agency: Department of Defense
Project Identifier: W81XWH-11-0812
Principal Investigator: Lea Steele, Ph.D.
Participating Division Member(s): Lea Steele, Ph.D.
Project Description: This project will determine if diverse objective measures, including multiple markers previously associated with Gulf War Illness (GWI), can be replicated in a single, well-characterized sample of Veterans, and the extent to which those findings are associated with one another. The study compares GWI cases to Veteran controls using neuroimaging assessment of brain structures, neuropsychological testing, psychiatric assessments, and evaluation of neuroendocrine function, multiple immune parameters, and the coagulation cascade.

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Assessment of Diverse Biological Indicators in Gulf War Illness: Are They Replicable? Are They Related?

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Funding Agency: Department of Defense
Project Identifier: W81XWH-11-0812
Principal Investigator: Lea Steele, Ph.D.
Participating Division Member(s): Lea Steele, Ph.D.
Project Description: This project will determine if diverse objective measures, including multiple markers previously associated with Gulf War Illness (GWI), can be replicated in a single, well-characterized sample of Veterans, and the extent to which those findings are associated with one another. The study compares GWI cases to Veteran controls using neuroimaging assessment of brain structures, neuropsychological testing, psychiatric assessments, and evaluation of neuroendocrine function, multiple immune parameters, and the coagulation cascade.

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Establishing a 1991 Veterans Research Network to Improve Characterization of Gulf War Illness and Provide a National Resource

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Funding Agency: Department of Defense
Project Identifier: W81XWH-12-0393
Principal Investigator: Lea Steele, Ph.D.
Participating Division Member(s): Lea Steele, Ph.D.
Project Description: The primary objectives of this multifaceted project are: (1) to survey a nationally representative sample of 1991 Gulf War and era Veterans to obtain current prevalence data on symptoms and diagnosed medical conditions, (2) to refine and optimize the GWI case definition based on veterans’ current health, and (3) to establish the ‘91 Veterans Information and Research Network (91VetNet), a national resource for veterans interested in knowing about current health research and investigators seeking to enroll 1991-era veteran in health studies.

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Biomarker Discovery in Gulf War Veterans: Development of a Gulf War Illness Diagnostic Panel

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Funding Agency: Department of Defense
Project Identifier: W81XWH-12-0382
Principal Investigator: Lea Steele, Ph.D.
Participating Division Member(s): Lea Steele, Ph.D.
Project Description: The objective of this project is to develop and validate a diagnostic tool for Gulf War Illness (GWI) based on quantitative results obtained from a multiplex immunoassay evaluation of a broad spectrum of blood analytes associated with immune, inflammatory, neurological, hormonal, and hematological processes that may contribute to GWI symptoms. If successful, the subgroup of analytes that most reliably distinguishes GWI patients can readily be assembled into a GWI-specific assay panel and developed for clinical use.

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Brain-Immune Interactions as the Basis of Gulf War Illness: Gulf War Illness Consortium (GWIC)

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Funding Agency: Department of Defense
Project Identifier: W81XWH-13-2-0072
Principal Investigator: Kim Sullivan, Ph.D. (Boston University Medical Campus)
Participating Division Member(s): Lea Steele, Ph.D. (Co-Principal Investigator; PI for Texas site)
Project Description: This multisite consortium includes a coordinated series of clinical and preclinical studies aimed at providing a comprehensive understanding of the pathobiology of GWI. Assessments of neurological, immune, and genetic parameters are conducted in three independent samples of Gulf War Veterans (Boston, Miami, and Houston). Parallel preclinical studies will evaluate persistent effects of GW neurotoxicants in vitro and in rodent models of GWI. Findings from clinical and preclinical studies will be used to identify specific brain-immune pathways that can be targeted for treatment intervention.

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Understanding Gulf War Illness: An Integrative Modeling Approach

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Funding Agency: Department of Defense
Project Identifier: W81XWH-13-2-0085
Principal Investigator: Mariana Morris, Ph.D. (Nova Southeastern University)
Participating Division Member(s): Lea Steele, Ph.D. (Co-Investigator)
Project Description: This consortium is developing a translational model of GWI, integrating both clinical and basic research findings using a systems biology approach. This approach will identify signaling mechanisms relevant to GWI and outline the most promising molecular drivers of these pathways for selection and testing of therapeutic interventions to improve symptomatology and reset homeostasis. Multiple parameters in Veterans with GWI and two GWI animal models will be used to determine biomarkers tied to regulatory dysfunction in GWI and establish targets for therapy. A range of potential treatments will be tested in animal models to identify a more limited number of compounds for preliminary human trials.

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Assessment of MRI-Based Markers of Dopaminergic Integrity as a Biological Indicator of Gulf War Illness

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Funding Agency: Department of Defense
Project Identifier: W81XWH-14-1-0622
Principal Investigator: Deborah Little, Ph.D. (Baylor Scott & White Healthcare)
Participating Division Member(s): Lea Steele, Ph.D. (Co-Investigator)
Project Description: This project leverages brain imaging data from an existing study of 1990-91 Gulf War Veterans to assess brain structures and processes of high interest for understanding GWI, but not previously studied in ill Gulf War veterans. This includes an in-depth, detailed analysis of the integrity of the corticostriatal circuit using high-resolution diffusion imaging. Investigators use cutting edge applications of existing imaging tools to inform on the microstructure within these regions.

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