Research

Current Studies

The CCNC has various ongoing studies. For more information on the current projects in the lab or to find contact information to participate in a study, please see the information below.

  • Schizophrenia Risk Decision Study

    What: Participation involves interviews about your past mental health, tests of concentration and memory, and completing two decision-making computer task involving making decisions such as choosing between gamble options and risking potential reward and loss in an MRI scanner.

    Who: Currently recruiting individuals with Schizophrenia and non-clinical control subjects with no history of mental health issues.

    Where: This study takes place across two visits, the 1st may be at Larue Carter Hospital or IU-Bloomington, the 2nd visit must be at IU-Bloomington.

    For more info, visit https://legacy.indianactsi.org/component/clinicaltrial/trial?Itemid=121&id=7950

    If interested in partipating, please contact iubccnc@indiana.edu 

  • Neural Mechanisms of Memory Search

    What: Participation involves completing informational questionnaires, tests of concentration and memory, and a word generation task performed in the MRI scanner.

    Who: Soon to be recruiting. You may be eligible to participate if you are 18-40 years old, right-handed, a native speaker of English, with no current psychiatric diagnoses or history of serious medical illnesses. 

    Where: The study consists of 2 visits, both occurring in the IU Bloomington Psychology Building.

    If interested in participating, please contact memorysearchIU@gmail.com 

  • Temporal Processing

    What: We’re interested in how the brain processes and perceives information, especially sounds. Participation involves questionnaires, structured interviews, and pen and paper tests of memory, concentration, and thinking ability, coordinated body movements, motor tests, and computer assessments.

    Who: Individuals age 18-55 with a diagnosis of schizophrenia, first degree relatives of individuals with  schizophrenia, and individuals with no current psychiatric diagnoses or history of serious medical illnesses.

    Where: Initial visits may be in both sites, while our returning visits (testing sessions) must be at Larue Carter Memorial Hospital. 

    If interested in participating, please contact the Bloomington or Indianpolis Lab.

Lab Techniques

Methods

The CCNC uses a broad range of methods, including behavioral testing, diagnostic interviewing, cognitive and neurological assessment, and neuroimaging and neurostimulation techniques.
  • Electroencephalography (EEG)

    Electroencephalography (EEG) is a technique used to measure brain activity. Sensors on the scalp detect weak voltage fluctuations that arise from the summation of neural activity, specifically post-synaptic potentials largely from cortical pyramidal cells oriented in the same direction. EEG is used to measure neural dynamics on a millisecond-level scale while individuals are resting and/or performing a task (e.g., working memory, language, auditory tasks). Some benefits of EEG are its noninvasive and relatively inexpensive nature as well as its precise temporal resolution. A limitation of EEG is its poor spatial resolution (locating where in the brain the activity is coming from) relative to techniques such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).

    Common methods of analyzing EEG data include: 1) event-related potentials (ERPs), or peaks in neural activity time-locked to stimuli (e.g., pictures, sounds), and 2) time-frequency analysis, or examining the strength and synchrony of neural activity in particular frequencies (e.g., alpha activity is considered to be synchronized neuronal activity oscillating around 8-13 Hz). EEG can be useful in studying basic neural functioning in healthy humans as well as in detecting differences in cognitive and sensory processes across individuals with psychopathology. Common applications of EEG in clinical settings are characterizing seizures in individuals with epilepsy and aiding in diagnosing sleep disorders.

  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
    COMING SOON
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (MRS)

    Magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS), also termed nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) when not in vivo, is a neuroimaging technique that quantifies the concentration of select brain metabolites that are highly abundant, including compounds such as glutamate, phenylalanine, taurine, creatine, choline, and GABA. Metabolites are identified by their chemical shifts. Chemical shifts are determined by deflections of applied magnetic field gradients and radio frequencies at which hydrogen protons resonate within a given compound or chemical environment. Phosphorous, sodium, carbon, and fluorine are also often used to characterize resonance frequencies. MRS data is typically measured from a small three-dimensional portion of the brain, or “voxel”, selected by the researcher.

    Although MRS has low spatial and temporal resolution, it can be a valuable non-invasive technique. In addition to identifying time- and psychopathology-related metabolite differences, MRS is commonly used to identify tumors, neural trauma, and metabolic disorders. 

  • Diffusion Tensor Imaging
    COMING SOON
  • Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS)

    Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is a non-invasive neurostimulation technique. tDCS can be used to indirectly induce excitation (termed “anodal” stimulation) or inhibition (termed “cathodal” stimulation) of brain regions. This is thought to occur by changing the threshold at which large groups of neurons fire. tDCS is accomplished by placing thin, wide sponge electrodes soaked in saline (i.e. salt solution) on the scalp or other parts of the body. The active and reference electrodes are configured to send a weak excitatory or inhibitory current through the scalp and skull to a brain region of interest. tDCS stimulation is 1000 times smaller than the strength of a static shock, like that received when you touch a metal doorknob after dragging your feet on a carpet.

    tDCS can be used with behavioral, neuroimaging, or cognitive tasks to determine the role of various neural regions in task performance by attempting to improve or dampen participant performance/ability. Moreover, tDCS can be used in both healthy populations and individuals with psychopathology to understand differences in the contribution of neural regions in various diagnostic/demographic groups. Because tDCS is such a new technique, its mechanisms of action and the extent of its effects are not yet fully understood.

Population

The CCNC is interested in understanding psychosis and related disorders. Our studies often recruit individuals with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, schizotypal personality disorder, past and present cannabis users, and relatives. We are so thankful to the individuals who participate in our studies and their families!

Past Studies and Collaborations