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Neuroscience Research //

Neuroscience Research at MRN

With MRN’s highly advanced tools and techniques, we have been able to expand the research scope beyond typical neuroimaging.  A few of the specialized research areas include, oral orthotics, brain stimulation (TDCS), learning, memory, aging and research ethics.  MRN’s imaging services, capabilities and expertise allow our investigators the freedom to  pursue groundbreaking research ideas.

Current Research //

Incidental findings in neuroimaging research.

Neuroimaging provides a tremendous amount of information to the researcher. It also uncovers findings in approximately a third of all research subjects that may not be related to the original research question, but may have medical relevance for the individual. Ethical principles need to be considered when deciding how much and by what method research information is offered directly back to subjects who volunteered for the research project. Our multidisciplinary collaborative group is studying the effect of providing research subjects with an official radiology reading of their MRI scan, probing relationships between key ethical principles such as beneficence, subject autonomy and justice. Our goal is to contribute to the national discussion regarding incidental findings in research, and demonstrate that findings of potential clinical significance can be returned in a way that minimizes harm and maximizes personal benefit for research participants.

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Biomarkers for White Matter Injury in Mixed and Vascular Cognitive Impairment

Another fate that awaits most of us, as we enter the latter decades of our lives, is cognitive decline. Whether this is a normal loss of memory or cognitive “processing speed” that we learn to manage and live with or a more serious loss of cognitive function, as in Alzheimer’s disease or any of the many forms of vascular dementia, depends on factors that are not well understood at present.

The project Biomarkers for White Matter Injury in Mixed and Vascular Cognitive Impairment, led by Dr. Gary Rosenberg, is aimed at combining several clinical and neuroimaging measures to arrive at a better differential diagnosis of vascular dementia, to help guide the development of treatments, as well as to discover more about the underlying pathologies of the different forms of the disease. Early results from this project have been reported in Taheri et al., Blood-Brain Barrier Permeability Abnormalities in Vascular Cognitive Impairment, Stroke, 42(8):2158-63 (2011). A preliminary report of our neurochemical findings (Gasparovic et al., submitted, 2012) demonstrates that NAA and total creatine are more strongly related to cognitive function in subjects with vascular dementia than is ischemic lesion volume.

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The current Phase III (P-III) COBRE project extends the Phase I and Phase II COBRE projects over the past 11 years. These successful projects have built up infrastructure and created a cutting edge brain imaging center. The Mind Research Network (MRN) houses an Elekta Neuromag 306-channel MEG System, a high density EEG lab, a 3T Siemens Trio MRI scanner, and two mobile 1.5T Siemens Avanto MRI scanners. Additional resources include a centralized neuroinformatics system, a strong IT management plan, and state-of-the-art image analysis expertise and tools. This Phase III COBRE continues this momentum and moves the technical cores we have developed into a position of long term sustainability. These include a multimodal data acquisition (MDA) core, algorithm and data analysis (ADA) core, and a biostatistics and neuro-informatics (BNI) core. These cores have begun to serve MRN and the greater community, as well as other institutions including extensive collaborations with IDeA funded projects in New Mexico and other states. The COBRE includes an extensive educational, mentoring, and faculty development program to carefully mentor and position faculty who use the cores to maximize their potential to successfully compete for external funding, thus fulfilling the ultimate goals of the COBRE program. This Phase III COBRE helps to sustain the Mind Research Network and New Mexico as one of the premier brain imaging sites.

Visit the COBRE site to learn more about the project.

The Mind Research Network NIGMS funded Multimodal Imaging of Neuropsychiatric Disorders Center for Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE), is soliciting applications for pilot projects. 

Applications accepted until April 17, 2020. 

Applicants are encouraged to develop multidisciplinary projects that fit within or expand upon the existing COBRE infrastructure and its theme of multimodal imaging of psychiatric and neurological illnesses. Projects that synergize across existing initiatives, and/or that incorporate neuromodulation, are especially encouraged. Please submit budgets up to a maximum of $25K in non-scan costs and up to $25K in scan costs. The pilot project program is designed to provide 1 year of support and training for investigators (individuals with a PhD and/or MD) who have an interesting idea that will lead to a future funded project.  The COBRE cores include 1) MDA: multimodal data acquisition (MRI/MEG), 2) ADA: algorithm and data analysis, 3) BNI: biostatistics and neuroinformatics. Applicants should identify a mentor or mentors from the existing COBRE senior faculty.

Request for pilot proposals

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