Medical Student Research Fellowship for Summer 2008
Mentor: Uma Rao, M.D.
Room number: HP5.520 W
Mail Code: 9101
Phone number: 214-648-5288
Project title: Neuronal Risk Markers for Nicotine Dependence in Youth
Human subjects IRB approved project number (where applicable): 032004-052 (8/14/04)
Animal subjects IRB approved project number (where applicable): NA
Project Type (patient-based research, animal-based research, or basic research; this characterization is only to permit a general classification for grouping similar types of projects) patient-based research
Brief Description of Project:
This project seeks to identify characteristics of brain function that predict the risk for development of nicotine dependence (ND) in adolescents. It employs a prospective design and utilizes functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to identify possible abnormalities in the reactivity of specific brain regions to cognitive challenges in youth at high- and low-risk for ND. We hypothesize that altered responsivity of the brain circuits involved in motivational-reward processes to cognitive stimuli will be related to the development of ND in a longitudinal study and that the observed brain changes are more prominent in the high-risk group. The adolescents also will participate in follow-up studies of fMRI assays (after the onset of ND in those who develop it) to determine if, and to what extent, changes in brain function occur as a consequence of ND by comparing the baseline and follow-up measurements. The longitudinal design will distinguish pre-existing vulnerability markers for smoking and ND from changes in brain function due to chronic smoking.
Previous Research Activities or Publications with Medical Students:
Henson MR, Nahum J, Chiu J, Hwang J, Rao U: Stressful life events and depression in adolescence. Poster presented at the 44th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of child and Adolescent Psychiatry, October 14-19, 1997.
Torreblanca J, Olaes K, Chiu J, Poland R, Hammen C, Rao U: Life stress and nocturnal urinary free cortisol in adolescent depression. 45th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Anaheim, CA, October 27- November 1, 1998.
Shinde A, Rao U, McGinty D, McCracken J, Poland R (1998): Sleep EEG changes in adult rats exposed to prenatal stress. Sleep 21:26.
Rao U, McGinty DJ, Shinde A, McCracken JT, Poland RE (1999): Prenatal stress is associated with depression-related EEG sleep changes in adult male rats: a preliminary report. Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry 23:929-939.
Rao U, Huang D, Zheng S, Bidesi A: Effect of early adversity on hippocampal volume in depressed adolescents. Presented at the 46th Annual Meeting of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, Boca Raton, FL, December 9-13, 2007.