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So far Charlotte has created 20 blog entries.
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 [...]

9 07, 2018

Identifying Key Metabolites in the Microbiome-Gut-Brain Axis During Infancy | Santelli & Gilmore | $64,881

Identifying Key Metabolites in the Microbiome-Gut-Brain Axis During Infancy Award: $64,881 The human gastrointestinal system contains a vastly complex system of microbes. We know that the composition and interactions of these microbial communities impact our neurodevelopment, cognition, and emotional behavior, but how is still largely unclear. Researchers will study the interactions between gut bacteria, bacterial gene expression, the presence of stress hormones, and a number of other chemical and behavioral factors, in infants. If a pattern exists, the data could help identify risk factors for psychiatric illness, and lead to preventive therapies and treatments. Rebecca Knickmeyer Santelli, Ph.D. and John Gilmore, M.D. Need/Problem: The composition of the gut microbiome (the trillions of microbes inhabiting the intestinal tract) impacts neurodevelopment, cognition, and stress-related behaviors relevant to a wide range of psychiatric illnesses, but [...]

9 07, 2018

Defining, Mining, and Reversing Neurocircuit Adaptions in Addiction | Stuber | $100,000

Defining, Mining, and Reversing Neurocircuit Adaptions in Addiction Award: $100,000 Addiction alters the signaling and function of many neurons in the brain. Because drug or alcohol abuse alter our neurocircuitry—the pathways of our brains—reversing the effects of addiction means reversing the patterns our brains learn from substance abuse. With this study, Dr. Stuber proposes to gather data identifying the neurocircuitry of addiction by monitoring the activity of hundreds to thousands of neurons during the transition to addiction. Garret Stuber, Ph.D. Need/Problem:  Addiction and related disorders exact a tremendous toll of society, but strategies to define and assess the therapeutic efficacy are currently costly, slow, and difficult to develop. Grant Summary:  Addiction alters the signaling and function of many neurons in the brain, but strategies to normalize these maladaptive patterns of activity are [...]

9 07, 2018

Alcohol intoxication mediated through medial septal circuitry | Knapp | $39,210

Alcohol intoxication mediated through medial septal circuitry Award: $39,210 In this research, researchers will use a novel mouse line to test the involvement of a specific neural circuit in brain in controlling alcohol intoxication. Selected cells in this circuit will be manipulated in an attempt to enhance or diminish the magnitude of intoxication. If the role of the circuit and cells can be shown, future work would expand the analysis of the neural connections to this circuit with the goal of inspiring novel avenues for therapeutic intervention in alcohol used disorders. Darin Knapp, Ph.D. Need/Problem: A complete understanding of the brain mechanisms of alcohol intoxication has remained elusive.  Research devoted to defining the neurocircuits of intoxication with state of the art neurobiological tools offers an opportunity to make advances in our understanding. [...]

9 07, 2018

Testing oxytocin treatment of opioid withdrawal | Pedersen | $40,808

Testing oxytocin treatment of opioid withdrawal Award: $40,808 Opioid use disorders have emerged as a public health crisis over the past 20 years; opioid overdose is now the leading cause of death for United States adults 25-44 years old. Aside from the initial difficulties posed by opioid addiction—which is notoriously difficult to treat—opioid drug use also complicates mental illnesses like bipolar disorder, PTSD, and depression. Dr. Pedersen and his team have already shown that the neuropeptide oxytocin (OT), administered intranasally, can block withdrawal and diminish drinking in alcohol-addicted subjects. Now they hope to show that it can be effective in reducing opioid withdrawal symptoms. Dr. Cort Pedersen

9 07, 2018

Excitation-inhibition imbalance in autistic auditory cortex and its effects on spectro-temporal sound integration | Kato | $100,000

Excitation-inhibition imbalance in autistic auditory cortex and its effects on spectro-temporal sound integration Award: $100,000 Recent studies on autistic patients have accumulated rich knowledge on these diseases at both genetic and behavioral levels. However, we still know little about the neuronal circuit mechanisms that connect the gene mutations to the behavioral deficits. Researchers will study how disturbed interplay between excitatory and inhibitory neurons leads to auditory processing deficits in autistic brains. The circuit-level knowledge obtained in this study will help identifying the novel therapeutic entry points for developing future treatments. Hiroyuki Kato, Ph.D. Need/Problem: In social species like humans, hearing is of particular importance for vocal communication among conspecifics. In this research, we aim to understand the neuronal circuit mechanisms that lead to disturbed auditory processing in autistic brains. Grant Summary: Using [...]

9 07, 2018

Randomized controlled trial of pyridoxine for tardive dyskinesia | Jarskog | $99,900

Randomized controlled trial of pyridoxine for tardive dyskinesia Award: $99,900 To date, the only effective medications to treat the symptoms associated with schizophrenia are the “antipsychotic” class of medications. Unfortunately, these medications have many possible side effects, including involuntary muscle movements known as tardive dyskinesia (TD). There is a small body of evidence, however, to suggest that pyridoxine (also known as Vitamin B6) may help alleviate the symptoms of TD; this study will build on that research, and test whether pyridoxine represents an effective treatment. Fredrik Jarskog, M.D. Need/Problem: Involuntary muscle movements can emerge after long-term treatment with antipsychotic medications. This condition is called tardive dyskinesia (TD) and there are few treatments available for this debilitating and stigmatizing condition. Grant Summary: This project will test whether pyridoxine represents an effective treatment for [...]

9 07, 2018

Achieving Synergy with Multimodal Brain Stimulation: Electricity Meets Magnetism | Frohlich | $156,613

Achieving Synergy with Multimodal Brain Stimulation: Electricity Meets Magnetism Award: $156,613 Dr. Frohlich’s current exploration of noninvasive brain stimulation began with a Foundation grant in 2012, and continued in 2015 with an additional $200,000 award. The third phase of this project attempts to integrate electrical and magnetic stimulation—two methods often used separately—to target specific trouble spots and improve overall brain function. Flavio Frohlich, Ph.D. Need/Problem: One effective treatment strategies for mental illnesses is to combine medications to achieve maximal therapeutic benefit. In contrast, despite the emergence of multiple, different forms of non-invasive brain stimulation for the treatment of mental illnesses, very little is known about the potential therapeutic synergy of different forms of non-invasive brain stimulation. Grant Summary:  This is the first study of its kind to investigate the targeted combination of [...]

3 07, 2018

Fecal Microbiota Transplantation (FMT) for Severe and Enduring Anorexia Nervosa (SE-AN) | Bulik | $33,249

Fecal Microbiota Transplantation (FMT) for Severe and Enduring Anorexia Nervosa (SE-AN) Award: $33,249 Researchers will attempt to determine what relationship, if any, exists between the presence (or absence) of normal intestinal bacteria and symptoms of anorexia. Ten individuals suffering from Severe and Enduring Anorexia Nervosa (SE-AN) will receive weekly doses of either a prepared fecal microbiota mixture or a placebo, and the results measured over time. If a correlation exists, it may be possible to treat SE-AN sufferers with regular infusions of helpful gut flora. Cynthia Bulik, Ph.D. Need/Problem: Anorexia nervosa is a severe biologically based mental illness that has the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric disorder. Among those who survive is a subgroup of individuals with severe and enduring anorexia nervosa (SE-AN). Despite ongoing treatment, these individuals develop a chronic [...]

3 07, 2018

BEGIN (Binge Eating Genetics INitiative) | Bulik | $40,000

BEGIN (Binge Eating Genetics INitiative) Award: $40,000 BEGIN is the first study of its kind to combine a genome-wide association study with an investigation of microbes across five bodily sites, coupled with capture of behavioral features (binge eating, purging, exercise, sleep) and mood using the Recovery Record app adapted to Apple Watch technology. We will paint a rich biological and behavioral picture of binge-eating disorder and bulimia nervosa that will allow us to identify genetic and microbiota contributors to disorder risk and maintenance; identify genomic, microbiota, and behavioral predictors of outcome; and to build algorithms that predict behavioral events (e.g., impending binges or purges) to enable real-time intervention via wearable technology. Cynthia Bulik, Ph.D. Need/Problem: Binge-eating disorder (BED) and bulimia nervosa (BN) are serious and costly eating disorders. Our genetic studies on [...]