Below is information regarding research studies done by investigators external to the BIRC who utilize the Brain Imaging Research Core. While we present information on the study, the BIRC cannot guarantee an individual’s eligibility for any of the research studies listed below. If you are interested in more information about any of these studies, please contact the individual study coordinator listed below.

Exploring Brain-Behavior Relationships to Disrupt the Trans-generational Cycle of Sexual Abuse

The purpose of this research study is to explore pathways in the adolescent brain that may be affected by being sexually abused and if these pathways are different in those who have sexually offended. We are using an MRI to look at the pathways that indicate empathy, impulse control, and emotion regulation.

If you’re interested, someone from the study will talk with you to make sure that you are eligible to participate. If you are eligible, we will work with your guardian (and your treatment team, if applicable) to schedule an appointment for you at UAMS. At that appointment, you will be asked questions such as your name and age, as well as your medical and mental health history, and current medications. We will get information about your sexual offending history from your therapist (if applicable). You will also complete an Interview with a member of the research team. This will be a structured, confidential interview to assess your history of abuse. You will also complete a few short questionnaires to assess your current psychological functioning. In all, this will last about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. For the MRI procedure, you will lie on your back on a bed that slides into a scanner. A coil – similar in appearance to a birdcage – will be placed around your head so that we can take pictures of your brain. A mirror will be placed on the coil so that you can see images on the screen behind you. If you have poor vision, we will offer you MRI-compatible glasses. You will hold a button box to respond to questions from the researcher. While in the MRI, we will take detailed pictures of your brain. You will be asked to perform 3 tasks while the MRI is scanning. The tasks will measure empathy, impulse control and emotion regulation in your brain. You will spend about 40 minutes in the scanner; you will be able to quit any time you want.

Participants are compensated for their time.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Male
  • Ages 12-17
  • With or without history of sexual abuse or sexually offending
  • Medically healthy
  • No internal metals

Please contact Dr. Sara Jones at 501-526-7846 or sljones@uams.edu for more information.

Characterization and Classification of Neural Phenotypes in Patients with Parkinson’s Disease

The purpose of this study is to explore individual differences in brain activity, specifically how brain activity is changed by Parkinson ’s disease and whether fMRI can be useful in making decisions for deep brain stimulator surgery.

Participation in this study involves one visit to the Brain Imaging Research Center during which time you will be administered an fMRI brain scan. This scan is not related to your clinical care, nor is it required for your treatment through the Neurosurgery clinic. Prior to having the scan, you will have a training session in an MRI Simulator in order to practice scan tasks and acclimate to the scanner environment.

Eligibility Criteria:

  •  Ages 18+
  • Current surgical candidate for deep brain stimulation for Parkinson’s disease
  • Have had previous neuropsychological testing
  • No internal metals
  • Mentally healthy (with no drug use disorders or other psychiatric illnesses such as major depression)

See PRI’s Neuropsychology services page for more information.

Effect of rTMS on Resting State Brain Activity in Schizophrenia

The purpose of this research study is to learn how transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) influences phantom sound perception in schizophrenia. For this study, we are recruiting healthy control participants, as well as patients with schizophrenia suffering from auditory hallucinations.

Participating in this study involves several visits to the rTMS lab at UAMS for rTMS procedures and assessments and several visits to the Brain Imaging Research Center for fMRI scanning.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Ages 21-65
  • No internal metals
  • Medically healthy

Please contact Rita Vaughn at 501-526-5301 or Vaughnrita@uams.edu for more information.

Effect of rTMS on Resting State Brain Activity in Tinnitus with Maintenance rTMS for Chronic Tinnitus Relief

Tinnitus refers to “ringing in the ears”. One in six adults experience tinnitus; many of them seek treatment but no effective treatment currently exists. Tinnitus may be related to over-activity of brain regions that process sound – auditory cortex in the temporal lobe. A procedure called transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) can decrease tinnitus in 50% of patients but tinnitus tends to come back. A typical TMS treatment delivers magnetic pulses over temporal cortex at a low frequency (1 pulse per second) for 30 minutes each day for 5 days. This study uses imaging scans before and after TMS to measure change in brain activity following active and placebo treatments. It also attempts to increase the percentage of responders by treating the opposite temporal lobe when treating the other fails. Finally, it attempts to extend the duration of the treatment effect by providing maintenance TMS when tinnitus returns.

Participating in this study involves several visits to the rTMS lab at UAMS for rTMS procedures and assessments and several visits to the Brain Imaging Research Center for fMRI scanning.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Ages 19-89
  • Tinnitus; or chronic ringing in the ears
  • No internal metals
  • Medically healthy

Please contact Ginger Brown at 501-526-7988 or Gjbrown@uams.edu for more information.