Lindner Center of HOPE Investigating the Role of the Brain-Body Communication in the Origins of Psychiatric Disorders

Study Evaluating Spinal Stimulation in the Treatment of Major Depressive Disorder

The Research Institute at Lindner Center of HOPE is exploring a novel “Neuroscience of the Body” research approach that considers psychiatric disorders not only affect the brain, but also the body. Likewise, the body also affects the brain. A current study specifically looks at the communication between the brain and the body and the role the spinal pathways play in the origins of psychiatric disorders. The hypothesis is that the communication between the brain and the body is disturbed in patients with Major Depressive Disorder which contributes to depressive symptoms and consequently may elevate the risk of medical comorbidity.

The study, led by investigators at The Research Institute at Lindner Center of HOPE, is looking at the impact of non-invasive spinal stimulation for the treatment of Major Depressive Disorder. The team is testing an exclusively investigational device to apply a small electrical current through the skin to modulate spinal pathways and modify the disturbed communication between the brain and the body.

The study is currently recruiting participants between the ages of 18 and 50 who are currently moderately depressed for at least one month and not currently on medication for the treatment of depression. Participants would be required to complete a phone screening, attend a screening visit that includes labs and other tests, attend a baseline visit and attend 20-minute stimulation sessions three times per week for eight weeks. Eligible participants will be compensated up to $250 for their time and travel.

The Research Institute at Lindner Center of HOPE’s Associate Chief Research Officer, Francisco Romo-Nava, MD, PhD, received the 2017 Young Investigator Award from the National Alliance for Research in Schizophrenia and Depression (NARSAD) granted by the Brain and Behavior Foundation for this study.

“It is an honor to receive this prestigious award for the most promising young investigators developing neuroscience research in the field of mental health,” said Romo-Nava. “This is a world-wide competition that funds the most innovative ideas for research for all sorts of psychiatric disorders.”

Lindner Center of HOPE  provides excellent, patient-centered, scientifically advanced care for individuals suffering with mental illness. A state-of-the-science mental-health center and charter member of the National Network of Depression Centers, the center provides psychiatric hospitalization and partial hospitalization for individuals 12 years and older, outpatient services for all ages, diagnostic and short-term residential services for adults and adolescents, intensive outpatient program for substance abuse and co-occurring disorders for adults and research. The center is enhanced by its partnership with UC Health as its clinicians are ranked among the best providers locally, nationally and internationally. Together Lindner Center of HOPE and UC Health offer a true system of mental health care in the Greater Cincinnati area and across the country. The center is also affiliated with the University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Medicine.