This is the first series of posts in which I give an update on ongoing research studies at our Carolina Center for Neurostimulation.
We are currently performing a research study to better understand the electrical signaling of brain networks during sleep in children (12-30 months) who have either an autism spectrum diagnosis or are at risk by having an older sibling with the diagnosis. We are doing this study since we know that sleep is a poorly understood but clinically very significant piece of ASD. Also, our hope is to find markers that would contribute to early detection and diagnosis based on neurobiological measurements. Finally, our dream is to then translate our non-invasive brain stimulation treatments that we are currently evaluating in adult patients with schizophrenia and depression to ASD.
But before we can do that, there is a lot that needs to be done, including our current study that does NOT include brain stimulation. The study comprises two visits with our friendly research team. One at your home with my super-friendly and skilled graduate student Jessica, followed by a visit to the lab at UNC where the child naps (we have an adult bed, a pack'n'play, a rocking/nursing chair, etc) and we record the EEG. Done! Just to give a you a perspective, we have had really good luck with children napping and giving us great data. But the best of it, you get compensated even if your child does not sleep. Also, you get to watch your child's brain waves ;-) When my daughter got her EEG recorded, she demanded to come back once a month to see how her brain waves change, making me very proud!
As a father of four children, let me answer your most burning question: No, you will never have to leave your child alone and if things do not work out, no worries, we understand your unique challenges.
We are hoping for 20 participants from the Chapel Hill, Durham, and surrounding communities over the next 6 months. Please also see our official flier below for contact details. Lastly, I would like to offer you that if you are interested in participating with your child in the study that I can meet you to discuss the science that motivates this study and share with you my vision of how we can together revolutionize neurology and psychiatry. You can reach me by email.
I will give periodic updates on how we are doing with this study. Please note that we are researchers and not clinicians and cannot answer your clinical questions about your child's health.