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So far Charlotte has created 22 blog entries.
9 07, 2018

Deep Phenotyping of Behavioral Patterns Associated with Neuropsychiatric Disease | Stuber | $162,000

Deep Phenotyping of Behavioral Patterns Associated with Neuropsychiatric Disease Award: $162,000 Need/Problem: Why have advances in our understanding and treatment of mental illness lagged behind that of other biomedical conditions? To a large extent, this difference stems from the fundamental issue of diagnosis. For mental illness, diagnosis still relies exclusively on checklists of signs and symptoms, derived from observation by the clinician and self-reports from the patient. While this is critical, we can dramatically improve mental health diagnosis and treatment by fully integrating genetic, physiological, and neurocircuit information.  Much of these data rely heavily on preclinical experiments where studying genetic or neurocircuit underpinnings of mental illness. However, in preclinical models there is a clear lack of behavioral readouts that can be 1) associated with a particular psychiatric condition, and 2) clearly linked to back to molecular or circuit mechanisms. [...]

9 07, 2018

Longitudinal Assessment of Mental Health Needs of Parents with Advanced Cancer | Park | $39,000

Longitudinal Assessment of Mental Health Needs of Parents with Advanced Cancer Award: $39,000 Need/Problem: Parents with advanced cancer experience unique psychological concerns due to simultaneously raising and supporting their children while adjusting to the physical and psychological effects of life-limiting illness. Their children are at increased risk of long-term psychological effects from parental cancer and early parental loss and their caregivers or partners suffer from high rates of depression and anxiety. Grant Summary:  We plan to conduct a mixed-methods, cohort study of parents with advanced cancer who have dependent-age children using semi-structured interviews and six validated measures to examine parental concerns, coping strategies to alleviate these concerns, physical and psychological symptoms and quality of life. Goals & Projected Outcomes: The goals are the following: 1)    To identify areas of peak psychological symptom burden that are amenable to future intervention [...]

9 07, 2018

Title: Deconstructing Maternal Circuit Elements that Underlie Anxiety and Motivation | McHenry & Stuber | $40,000

Title: Deconstructing Maternal Circuit Elements that Underlie Anxiety and Motivation Award: $40,000 Need/Problem: Approximately 13-20% of perinatal women are afflicted by psychiatric illnesses, such as postpartum depression. These conditions impair maternal health, compromise mother-infant interactions, and have adverse implications for the developing offspring. Grant Summary: Postpartum disorders may stem from perturbations in brain circuits that ordinarily act to promote maternal health and offspring care. However, a functional neural circuit level of understanding is poorly understood. For more effective treatments, it is necessary to gain a better understanding of the neural mechanisms that underlie both normal and pathological postpartum adaptations. The proposed research aims to establish a novel preclinical approach in a mouse model to elucidate the function of maternal circuit elements that affect infant care, anxiety, and motivation. Goals & Projected Outcomes: The proposed research aims to establish a [...]

9 07, 2018

Oxytocin Effects on Cocaine-induced Maternal Neglect | Grewen | $40,000

Oxytocin Effects on Cocaine-induced Maternal Neglect Award: $40,000 Need / Problem:  At least 1% to 3% of women in the U.S. use cocaine during pregnancy. Prenatal cocaine abuse is linked to problems with mother-infant bonding and attachment, including child neglect and abuse. This vulnerability may derive, in part, from altered maternal responses to infant cries and other signals, and from reduced maternal nurturing behaviors such as holding, touching and interacting with infant. Mothers who have used cocaine during pregnancy report difficulty interacting with their infants, express subtle hostility (insensitivity and irritability) during feeding and play periods, and perceive infant cries as less arousing and requiring less maternal intervention. They tend to pick up and hold their infants less often than other mothers, even though their infants cry more. These alterations in early mothering behaviors parallel those seen in animal [...]

9 07, 2018

gPACT – a rapid large & inexpensive study of Postpartum Depression | Meltzer-Brody | $99,000

gPACT – a rapid large & inexpensive study of Postpartum Depression Award: $99,000 Dr. Samantha Meltzer-Brody helped assemble an international team of researchers and clinicians who, using open-source Apple software, could gather information from thousands of women experiencing symptoms of postpartum depression (PPD). Selected participants would submit DNA samples for researchers to compare against DNA from women who have never experienced depression. With this study, Dr. Meltzer-Brody and her team hope to discover genetic factors that could lead to better prediction, diagnosis, and treatment for perinatal mental illnesses. Samantha Meltzer-Brody, M.D. Need/Problem:  Despite its prevalence—up to 1 in 7 mothers experience postpartum depression—and its devastating effects on women and their families, PPD (and, by extension, PPP) is a poorly understood condition. Grant Summary: In an effort to combat this issue, Dr. Samantha [...]

9 07, 2018

Investigating Brain and Behavior Development in Typical and High-Risk Children | Short | $46,921

Investigating Brain and Behavior Development in Typical and High-Risk Children Award: $46,921 Mental illnesses are likely present early in childhood, long before the symptoms begin to emerge in adolescence or adulthood. By leveraging the data from the Early Brain Development (EBD) study, researcher Dr. Sarah Short will study trajectories of the brain and behavioral development from birth through pre-adolescence, searching for signs of mental illness symptoms that correlate with early brain development. Sarah Short, Ph.D. Need/Problem: The neural basis of major mental illnesses is likely present early in childhood, long before the clinical symptoms begin to emerge in adolescence or adulthood. Until recently, methods for studying the developing brain were unavailable. Grant Summary: This study seeks to provide new knowledge and hope for preventing mental illness and promoting healthy outcomes in children [...]

9 07, 2018

Autoimmune Illness, Infections, and Genetic Risk for Anorexia Nervosa | Zerwas | $39,981

Autoimmune Illness, Infections, and Genetic Risk for Anorexia Nervosa Award: $39,981 Despite its prevalence and high mortality, norexia nervosa treatment is a poorly studied condition, with no effective treatments and no medication targeting the core biology of the illness; the recovery process takes, on average, seven years. Dr. Zerwas proposed to study whether the combination of autoimmune illness and repeated infection exposure will work together to increase risk for anorexia. Her goal is to improve both prevention and early detection of anorexia by understanding how genetic predispositions and medical history interact to increase risk for the disorder. Stephanie Zerwas, Ph.D. Need/Problem: We don’t know enough about why some people develop anorexia nervosa and others do not. Our recent studies have suggested that autoimmune illness may increase risk for anorexia nervosa. This study [...]

9 07, 2018

Predicting the Trajectory of Restrictive Eating in Childhood from Genetic Risk for Anorexia Nervosa | Zerwas & Watson | $45,000

Predicting the Trajectory of Restrictive Eating in Childhood from Genetic Risk for Anorexia Nervosa Award: $45,000 Anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric illness, and is also extremely difficult to treat—treatment typically relies on supportive therapy, with no actual medications designed to target the core biology of the illness. “Picky eating” in childhood can be a warning that anorexia will develop later in adulthood, but little is known about the genetic reasons for this behavior. This project will comb the comprehensive, long-term Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study for genetic and/or environmental clues that point to restrictive eating behavior, with the ultimate goal of preventing this devastating illness in its earliest stages. Stephanie Zerwas, Ph.D. and Hunna Watson, Ph.D. Need/Problem: Restrictive or picky eating in childhood has been associated [...]

9 07, 2018

Establishing Network Targets during Development for Non-Invasive Brain Stimulation | Li | $37,549

Establishing Network Targets during Development for Non-Invasive Brain Stimulation Award: $37,549 There is some evidence to suggest that directly stimulating the brain with a targeted, low-level electrical current may yield positive effects on certain cognitive disorders. By extension, this study will attempt to learn whether non-invasive brain stimulation can be a successful method of treating schizophrenia in its earliest phases (most typically manifesting in young adults). Yuhui Li, Ph.D. Need/Problem: Some psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia are neurodevelopment diseases which require earlier diagnose and prevention far before the onset of symptoms. Grant Summary: This grant is innovative in that it will target the brain in early development stage to predict and prevent psychiatric disorder. Goals & Projected Outcomes: The goal of this study is to set up an animal model of schizophrenia [...]

9 07, 2018

Prospective Identification of Individuals with a Brain Overgrowth Form of Autism | Piven, Zyika, Stein | $40,000

Prospective Identification of Individuals with a Brain Overgrowth Form of Autism Award: $40,000 This grant will take a first step towards developing a polygenic risk score for brain overgrowth in a large sample of human neural progenitor cells. Understanding the genetic basis of brain overgrowth will enable the development of this important tool for identification of infants at increased risk for the overgrowth form of autism in the general population. Joseph Piven, M.D., with Mark Zylka, Ph.D. and Jason Stein, Ph.D. Need/Problem: Early (pre-symptomatic) brain overgrowth has emerged as a primary mechanism underlying the development of later autism in a subset of infants at high familial risk for this disorder.  Understanding the genetic basis of brain overgrowth will enable the development of a genetic tool (genetic risk score for brain overgrowth) for [...]