The Brain Imaging Research Center (BIRC) conducts several research studies in which functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) is used to determine areas of the brain that are activated during different behavioral tasks.  Most of our research studies require participants to complete questionnaires, interviews, and an MRI brain scan.  The length of participation and amount of compensation varies between studies.  If you would like to participate please read about our individual studies to see if you are interested.

If you would like more information on mental  health services offered at the PRI, see Clinical Care or call the Walker Family Clinic at (501) 526-8200.

Modeling sex-differences in trauma-related neural organization conferring resilience against addiction

The goal of this study is to understand why some people experience childhood trauma but do not develop addiction. We are looking for adult men and women to participate in this study. Participants in this study will be asked to come to UAMS for two visits. On the first visit, we will ask questions about how the participant is currently feeling and his or her past childhood experiences. We will also give cognitive tests to the participant. This visit takes about 3 hours to complete. The participant will return for a second visit to complete the MRI scan, which will take about 1 ½ hours to complete. During the MRI scan, we will ask the participant to perform more cognitive tasks.  Participants will be compensated for their time.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Male or female
  • Ages 18-40
  • With or without a history of childhood trauma
  • No internal metals
  • 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.

A Risk Factor Analysis of Human Brain States Related to the Development of Addiction

The goal of this study is to understand how stress and drug use or non-use is related and to understand how this affects the brain. We are looking for teenage girls and adult women to participate in this study.

For adolescents, participation involves 2 separate visits. The participant and a parent will be asked to come to the Brain Imaging Research Center at UAMS. Both adolescent and their parent will complete a series of interviews and questionnaires. Some of the questions we ask will be about how the adolescent has been feeling, if they have ever been in a stressful or abusive situation, and about any drug use. This visit takes about 4 hours to complete. Following this first visit the adolescent will come back one more time to complete the MRI scan. The MRI scan takes about 1 ½ hours to complete. Finally, we will contact the adolescent 3 separate times by phone over a 9 month period to ask about any drug use since the last visit. All information that we collect throughout the study is kept confidential. Also, we do not tell parents about any drug use the adolescent reports to us.

Both adolescent and parent participants will be compensated for their time.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Female
  • Ages 12-16
  • Medically healthy
  • No internal metals
  • Must have a parent able to stay for each visit

For adults, participation involves 2 separate visits. The participant will be asked to come to the Brain Imaging Research Center at UAMS. They will complete a series of interviews and questionnaires. Some of the questions we ask will be about how the adolescent has been feeling, if they have ever been in a stressful or abusive situation, and about any drug use. This visit takes about 4 hours to complete. Following this first visit the adolescent will come back one more time to complete the MRI scan. The MRI scan takes about 1 ½ hours to complete.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Female
  • Ages 25-40
  • Medically healthy
  • No internal metals
  • Must have started using drugs between age 12-16 years
  • Must have abused at least 2 drugs at some point during your life

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

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 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.

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 to 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 for 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 minue 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) & Cognitive Control Theoretic Mechanisms of Real-time fMRI-Guided Neuromodulation (CTM)

The purpose of these projects is to investigate the brain mechanism 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 studies 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.