Listed below are the research trials currently being conducted at the Psychiatric Research Institute. Unless otherwise noted, all of them are currently accepting participants. See the respective contacts for each trial for more information.

Brain Imaging Research Center

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

The goal of this study is to understand why some people experience childhood trauma but do not develop an 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

This study is currently accepting participants. 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 (DOA)

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

This study is currently accepting participants. 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

This study isn’t accepting participants at this time.

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

This study isn’t accepting participants at this time.

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. 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

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

A Causal Test of Emotion Regulation in the Affective Perception of Visual Stimuli (CTER)

The study’s purpose is to learn more about whether if controlling emotions changes a person’s emotional response to images. This is not a treatment study. Participants will include 40 men and women aged 18-65 with no major medical disorders or current mental health disorders.

The 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

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

Center for Addiction Research

Improving Treatment Outcomes for Opioid Dependence

The goal of this study is to improve treatment outcomes with buprenorphine-assisted detoxification from prescription pain relievers like Dilaudid, hydrocodone, oxycodone and methadone. The study initially involves the use of the drug buprenorphine, which is used to taper participants off prescription pain relievers, and gabapentin, known clinically as Neurontin. After being tapered off buprenorphine, participants receive Vivitrol, an FDA-approved drug shown to help prevent relapse in individuals who stop heroin or prescription pain reliever use. Study participants will meet with a research therapist weekly for an hour-long session that will include education and support, medication management, techniques to enhance motivation for abstinence and review of problem areas. There is no cost to participate in this study, and research subjects who are found eligible will receive monetary compensation for their time.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Male or female
  • Ages 18-65
  • Problem with prescription pain killers
  • Able to attend clinic six days per week for the first three weeks

This study is currently accepting participants. For more information, call 501-526-7969.  All calls are confidential.

Motivated Behavior in Adults With and Without ADHD

This is a volunteer opportunity for adults with and without attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). We are looking for participants between the ages of 18 and 45 to take part in a three-visit research study. Each visit will last about three hours.  Study participation involves taking an ADHD medication, filling out questionnaires and completing some computer tasks. Compensation will be provided to participants.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Generally healthy
  • Male or Female
  • With or without ADHD
  • Ages 18-45

This study is currently accepting participants. Merideth Addicott, Ph.D., is the Principal Investigator.  For more information, please contact Debbie Hodges at (501) 526-8462 or dhodges@uams.edu.

The Effects of Smoking Status on Distress Tolerance

This is a volunteer opportunity for smokers, former smokers and non-smokers. We are looking for participants between the ages of 18 and 55 for a four-hour research study. Study participation will involve one visit to fill out questionnaires and complete some computer tasks. No study medications are involved. Compensation will be provided.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • General healthy
  • Male or Female
  • Current smoker, ex-smoker, or non-smoker
  • Ages 18-55

This study is currently accepting participants. Merideth Addicott, Ph.D., is the Principal Investigator.  For more information, please contact Debbie Hodges at (501) 526-8462 or dhodges@uams.edu.

Division of Health Services Research

Intensive Referral to Al-Anon: Benefits for the Concerned Other and Their Drinkers

This research study is focusing on the friends and family of people in treatment for substance use problems. The goal of this study is to find out if  Al-Anon and other services help the concerned other develop coping skills needed to handle the stressors of supporting someone with a substance use disorder and, in return, help the person in treatment stay sober longer. We are currently seeking to enroll pairs of individuals with a substance use disorder and someone in your life who is supportive of your recovery. Our goal is to give family members or friends the support they need to better cope with someone with substance use problems. Each participant and supportive individual  pair will participate in four interviews  for about an hour over one year (within the next few weeks, and 3, 6, and 12 months from now). If you are in the study, you will receive a gift card payment for each interview ($25 for Interview 1, $25 for Interview 2, $30 for Interview 3, and $35 for Interview 4).

This study is currently accepting participants. Please contact Meredith Mack at (501) 526-8333, MCMack@uams.edu, or KaSheena Winston at (501) 526-8328, KDWinston@uams.edu, for more information.

Neurocognitive Dynamics Laboratory

Pediatric Head Models for Improved Imaging of Neurological Development

The purpose of this research study is to make models of the electrical properties of the brain and skull in babies and children.  The models we make will help doctors and research scientists get more accurate information from non-invasive imaging methods like electroencephalography (EEG) in healthy children and in children who may have disorders that affect the way their brain works.  Right now, EEG is widely used clinically in very specific brain problems like epilepsy and sleep disorders. By making better models of the heads and brains of children, we hope to make this technique even more useful by showing it can help with a wider range of problems. We need to find out whether our models can provide very accurate information on how the brain works, so in this study we will use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) as well as EEG. The fMRI uses a big magnet in which you lie down and look at pictures on a screen or tap your fingers while we take pictures of your brain at work. This tool will give us two ways of looking at how the brain works, and together they can prove that our head models have really improved the accuracy of EEG for looking at the brain at work in children. All participants who complete both the EEG and fMRI will be reimbursed $50 for their time.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Male or female
  • Ages 8-17
  • No internal metals
  • No major medical conditions

This study is currently accepting participants. Please contact Aaron S. Kemp at ASKemp@uams.edu, or call (501) 526-8291 for more information.

Probing and Understanding the Brain: Micro and Macro Dynamics of Seizure and Memory Networks

The purpose of this research study is to help us better understand how the brain changes its activity before, during and after a seizure and how those changes affect the brain’s ability to create and recall memories. To accomplish that goal, we must obtain information both from individuals who suffer from epilepsy and individuals who have never had a seizure or brain injury. Forty (40) people 18 years or older undergoing evaluation for epilepsy surgery and 15 people 18 years or older who have never had a seizure or brain injury will take part in this study. To qualify for this study the participants with epilepsy must currently be in consideration for resective brain surgery here at UAMS. Eligible individuals with epilepsy who provide consent to participate will be asked to perform several memory tasks while wearing a cap to measure the electrical activity of their brain using electroencephalography (EEG). These EEG assessments of memory will be conducted on at least 3 separate occasions during the study: once before the surgery, once while on the epilepsy monitoring unit (EMU), and at least once several months after their surgery. For the healthy participants there will usually only be one study visit during which the memory tasks would be completed while wearing the cap to measure the electrical activity in the brain using EEG.  All participants who complete EEG assessments will be reimbursed $50 for each visit.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Male or female
  • Age 18 or older
  • Patients with epilepsy must be in consideration for resective brain surgery at UAMS
  • Other participants must have no history of seizures or brain injury and no major medical conditions

This study is currently accepting participants. Please contact Aaron S. Kemp at ASKemp@uams.edu, or call (501) 526-8291 for more information.

Women’s Mental Health Program

Effects of Maternal Tobacco Use on Newborns

We are conducting a research study to learn more about how tobacco use during pregnancy affects newborns shortly after delivery and to understand how babies process nicotine. We are looking for pregnant women that are currently greater than 32 weeks pregnant. Participants will receive compensation for their time and no medication will be given.

Participants in this study will complete no more than 13 study visits and each visit should last about one hour. All inpatient study visits will occur on the OB or NICU floors at UAMS. All outpatient visits will occur in the research offices at the UAMS Psychiatric Research Institute.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Pregnant women 18-45 years old
  • Greater than 32 weeks pregnant
  • Currently use tobacco product(s)
  • OB care at UAMS and plans to deliver at UAMS
  • Mother and Infant are enrolled in the study

Please contact Amber Thomas at AThomas8@uams.edu or call (501) 526-8429 for more information.

Exercise for Depression in Pregnancy

We are conducting a research study to learn how exercise affects depressed or sad mood during pregnancy. We are looking for pregnant women that are currently less than 24 weeks pregnant. Participants will receive compensation for their time and no medication will be given.

Study participation includes 12 weeks of exercise and study visits until 6 weeks postpartum. Each study visit will last one to two hours. All study visits will occur in the research offices at the UAMS Psychiatric Research Institute.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Pregnant women 18-40 years old
  • Less than 24 weeks pregnant
  • Currently suffer from depressed or sad mood
  • No active drug or alcohol use
  • Be able to complete mild to moderate physical activity

Please contact Rebecca Stallmann at RAStallmann@uams.edu or call (501) 526-8525 for more information.