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Researcher Receives NIH Grant for Brain Imaging Study of Opioid Addiction

Featuremoellerscott20

STONY BROOK, NY, August 27, 2020 – Impaired Insight is a term in Psychiatry that refers to the idea that patients with certain diseases are unaware how ill they are. For people with an opioid use disorder (OUD), impaired insight may cause patients to reject treatments for their addiction. Supported by a nearly $3 million grant from National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), Scott J. Moeller, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health in the Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University, is embarking on an imaging study of the brain to reveal what is happening in the brains of those with OUD who, despite profound problems with drugs, are not committed to taking their prescribed treatment medications. The grant runs through June 2025.

Moellerscott20
Scott J. Moeller, PhD

Moeller, the Principal Investigator, suspects that lack of insight in OUD, rather than reflecting simple “denial,” may be rooted in brain circuitry abnormalities. He and colleague Richard N. Rosenthal, MD, believe there are particular deficits in the “self-referential” network, an interconnected group of brain regions that function to enable people to think about themselves and process self-relevant information.

The researchers will use functional MRI to isolate activity in these brain areas and determine differences in self-referential brain functioning between OUD patients and non-addicted healthy controls. The work will be completed in part at Stony Brook’s Multi-Modal Translational Imaging Lab.

“We expect result of the imaging study will shed new light on the importance of impaired insight in addiction and its bases in the brain, which in turn may have future applications to clinical treatment,” said Moeller.

About Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University:

Established in 1971, Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University includes 25 academic departments. The three missions of the School are to advance the understanding of the origins of human health and disease; train the next generation of committed, curious and highly capable physicians; and deliver world-class compassionate healthcare. As a member of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and a Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) accredited medical school, Stony Brook is one of the foremost institutes of higher medical education in the country. Each year the School trains nearly 500 medical students and more than 600 medical residents and fellows. Faculty research includes National Institutes of Health-sponsored programs in neurological diseases, cancer, cardiovascular disorders, biomedical imaging, regenerative medicine, infectious diseases, and many other topics. Physicians on the School of Medicine faculty deliver world-class medical care through more than 31,000 inpatient, 108,000 emergency room, and 940,000 outpatient visits annually at Stony Brook University Hospital and affiliated clinical programs, making its clinical services one of the largest and highest quality medical schools on Long Island, New York. To learn more, visit www.medicine.stonybrookmedicine.edu.

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