Dopamine Enhancement of Fear Extinction Learning in PTSD (DOP)

The goal of this study is to demonstrate the engagement of post-extinction dopamine neurotransmission and downstream acute reorganization of dopaminergic resting-state neural networks as a means of increasing consolidation of generic fear extinction learning in adult women with PTSD.

There are three main stages of this experimental protocol: 1) Assessment, 2) Day 1 fMRI, and 3) Day 2 fMRI. Participants would complete these stages across 2-3 days, depending on participant need. Day 1 fMRI and Day 2 fMRI will always be consecutive days.

During the Assessment stage, participants would undergo a structured clinical interview to assess trauma history and mental health diagnoses. During Day 1 fMRI, participants would complete ~40 min fMRI scan, then ingest a pill (placebo, 100mg L-DOPA, or 200 mg L-DOPA) upon leaving the scanner and wait in a waiting room for ~45 minutes. Participants then complete the Side Effect Checklist to assess any drug-related side effects. The participant would then undergo a 7 min resting-state fMRI scan, which concludes Day 1 fMRI. Participants return ~24 hours later for Day 2 fMRI, in which they first complete the Side Effect Checklist again and then complete a single ~40 minute fMRI scan. All participants will receive compensation.

Eligibility Criteria

  • 21 – 50 years of age
  • Meets criteria for PTSD
  • May or may not have a history of physical or sexual abuse
  • English speaking
  • Medically healthy

Please contact Natalie Morris at NMorris@uams.edu, Nate Jones at NJones@uams.edu or call (501) 420-2653 for more information.

Intrinsic Neuromodulation of Core Affect (INCA)

The purpose of this project is to investigate the brain mechanisms involved in the volitional control of emotion. We will do this by comparing imaging data recorded during opposing goals of a rt-fMRI guided emotion control task (e.g., maximize vs. minimize valence or arousal) to measure changes in areas known to be involved in emotional processing or theorized to be involved in both cognitive control and error processing. In addition, skin conductance will be recorded as an independent measure of emotional arousal.

The current study will consist of two parts: an assessment stage and an MRI scan. Participants may complete study procedures in either one or two days, depending on availability. In the assessment stage, participants will complete a structured clinical interview and a series of questionnaires (see Assessments section). In the scan stage, participants will undergo an MRI scan lasting ~1 hour. All participants will receive compensation.

Eligibility Criteria

  • 18 – 65 years of age
  • Right-handed
  • English speaking
  • Native-born American citizen
  • Medically healthy
  • Negative urine drug screen on day of consent and MRI scan day

Please contact Natalie Morris at NMorris@uams.edu, Nate Jones at NJones@uams.edu or call (501) 420-2653 for more information.

Real-time fMRI and Neurofeedback of Brain Networks Mediating Trauma Memory Recall in PTSD (RPEP)

The purpose of this study is to identify how the brain performs while recalling stressful or traumatic experiences. Participants in this study would be asked to complete interviews and questionnaires and an MRI scan. Participation would involve completion of interviews and questionnaires related to a possible history of trauma, mental health history, and physical health history, and completion of an MRI scan. Participation would require two 3-hour visits to UAMS, taking ~6 hours to complete. Compensation will be provided.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Female
  • 21-50 years of age
  • With our without a history of physical or sexual assault
  • No internal metal
  • No major medical conditions

Please contact Natalie Morris at NMorris@uams.edu, Nate Jones at NJones@uams.edu or call (501) 420-2653 for more information.