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Research at Mass General
Learn more about addiction recovery
The work of the Center for Addiction Medicine is carried out through clinical trials that investigate causes of substance use disorders and investigate novel treatments. These findings in these studies often affect the way treatment is delivered in actual healthcare environments.
The Center for Addiction Medicine conducts research related to substance abuse on a variety of topics.
Learn more about marijuana research
Learn more about tobacco research
Learn more about alcohol and mixed drug use research
Learn more about related mental health research
Our studies are not limited to patients in our psychiatric care at Massachusetts General Hospital. They are also available to the public as a health resource through our research program.
Learn more about the Center for Addiction Medicine at Mass General.
Effect of Medical Marijuana on Neurocognition and Escalation of UsePrincipal Investigator: Jodi Gilman, 2016—2020Study Reference: 5K01DA034093
The purpose of this study is to evaluate the the effect of medical marijuana (MM) on a range of outcomes, including clinical symptoms, cognitive performance, brain function, and possible transition to cannabis use disorders (CUD), in adults who are interested in using medical marijuana to treat pain, insomnia, depression, or anxiety. We will conduct longitudal assessments over 6 months that will:
Web-based Survey of Individuals Interested in Using Medical MarijuanaPrincipal Investigator: Jodi Gilman, 2015—2020Study Reference: NIH/NIDA 1K01DA034093-01A
The aims of this study are to characterize the most common illnesses for which MM is sought, the reasons for seeking MM, reasons for hesitance to use and to characterize current marijuana use habits of those interested in using MM.
Cognition and Adolescent HealthPrincipal Investigator: Schuster, Gilman, Evins, 2015—2020Study Reference: 5K01DA034093-03
The purpose of this study is to provide updated information on prevalence and frequency of cannabis use in relation to other forms of substance use in a representative sample of high-school aged adolescents, to evaluate the effect of contingency management on initial 30-day verified cannabis abstinence in adolescents and older adolescents who use cannabis at least weekly and are not seeking treatment, to determine whether there is cognitive dysfunction in cannabis use that persists in the short term (4 days) after use but resolves with extended abstinence (30 days) compared to cannabis users who do not quit and non-using controls and to estimate the rate of cognitive improvement with cannabis abstinence as a function of time since last use and concentration of detectable cannabis metabolites in urine.
Mentoring in Patient-Oriented Addiction ResearchPrincipal Investigator: Kelly, 2014—2019Study Reference: National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism/K24AA022136-01
This grant is designed to develop specific content expertise in treatment and recovery policy, and the design, implementation, and evaluation of treatment and recovery support service combinations. This grant also allows for mentoring junior investigators in patient-orientated addiction research (POAR).
Examining the Effectiveness of a Peer-support Model for Parents and Caregivers of Addicted Loved OnesPrincipal Investigator(s): Kelly, 2014—2105Study Reference: Recovery Research Institute (RRI)
This study aims to assess the subjective benefits of participation in face-to-face meetings for both Learn to Cope affiliates and their family members with addiction problems; to examine the extent to which Learn to Cope is associated with improving its members’ understanding of and competence in dealing with their loved ones’ addiction as well as helping their loved ones’ chances of recovery from addiction.
Decision-Making and Drug UsePrincipal Investigator: Gilman, 2013—2016Study Reference: NIH/NIDA 1K01DA034093-01A1
The aim of the study is to design novel behavioral tasks that will allow us to separate and empirically measure factors that predict social influence. We would like to design new tasks based on classic psychological studies that will allows us to model social influence, to observe differences between non-dependent young adults aged 18-25 who use either alcohol (ALC) or marijuana (MJ), and age-matched controls (CON), in order to investigate differences in susceptibility to social influence and in neural activation of regions associated with social influence as a function of early drug use.
Using Imaging to Assess Effects of THC on Brain ActivityPrincipal Investigator: Gilman, 2013—2017Study Reference: NIDA 1K01DA034093
The aim of this study is to assess the effects of THC intoxication using the medication dronabinol (synthetic THC) on resting state and task-based activation in the prefrontal cortex (PFC), as well as on neurocognitive task performance and correlations between these measurements and clinical signs of intoxication, as well as to investigate at which doses of dronabinol an effect on neurocognitive task performance or an effect on PFC activity can be observed.
Study title?Principal Investigator: Kelly, 2011—2019Study Reference: Tower Foundation and private donors
Some of the RRI projects include building and maintaining a website in order to provide a credible source of information to debunk addiction and recovery myths, and provide free access to the latest recovery research information; building and evaluating recovery support programs in the community; building and evaluating recovery support programs in educational settings such as high schools and colleges; understanding the impact of community mutual-help organizations; addiction treatment system program evaluation.
Integrated Smoking Cessation Treatment for Smokers with Serious Mental IllnessesPrincipal Investigator: A. Eden Evins, MD, MPH, 2016—2021Study Reference: PCORI 1504-30472
The aim of this study is to study the effectiveness of two practical approaches to improve the health of people with mental illness in the community. The project will test whether tailored education to primary care doctors alone or combined with community health workers will help those with mental illness quit smoking. More than 1,100 patients at 50 Boston area community health clinics will be involved. Bay Cove Human Services and Vinfen, two of the largest mental health service providers in the Commonwealth, will lead the clinical component of this study.
Reduced Nicotine Cigarettes in Smokers with Mood and Anxiety DisordersPrincipal Investigator: Evins, 2013—2018Study Reference: P50 DA 036107-01
The aim of this study is to assess the effect of switching to gradually reduced nicotine content cigarettes on product use patterns and biomarkers of exposure, on psychiatric and nicotine withdrawal symptoms and on self-perception of tobacco dependence, self-report of intention to quit smoking, and actual smoking cessation attempts in smokers with mood and/or anxiety disorders.
Learn more about this study.
Using Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging to Characterize Cigarette Smoking in Neurocognitive DomainsPrincipal Investigator: Gilman, 2013—2106Study Reference: IH K24DA030443-04
The purpose of this study is to characterize the structural and functional brain circuitry of smokers in order to gain a better understanding of the neuroscience underlying nicotine addiction. Specifically, we use neuroimaging to characterize smokers in 3 domains; cue reactivity, sustained attention, and inhibitory control; as well as asses resting brain function.
Characterization and Evaluation of Addiction Recovery Community CentersPrincipal Investigator: Kelly, 2014—2016Study Reference: National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism /R21AA022693-01A1
This study will characterize and evaluate the public health and addiction recovery utility of addiction recovery community centers in the United States. This experimental/developmental investigation will characterize RCCs in New England and New York, and survey RCC clients to examine abstinence and remission rates and the accrual of recovery capital and enhanced quality of life.
Examining the Effectiveness of a Peer-support Model for Parents and Caregivers of Addicted Loved OnesPrincipal Investigator: Kelly, 2014—2105Study Reference: Recovery Research Institute (RRI)
Enhanced Treatment for Binge Drinking Depressed College StudentsPrincipal Investigator: Pedrelli, 2011—2016Study Reference: K23 AA020064
This is the first randomized controlled study on the effectiveness of a treatment combining Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Brief Motivational Intervention (CBT+BMI) for college students with depressive symptoms who binge drink. Given the severe consequences associated with binge drinking and depressive symptoms in college students identifying an effective treatment for this population has critical public health significance. The Treatment for Excessive Alcohol Use and Depression in Students (TREADS) study lasts approximately 12 weeks. As part of the study participants complete a baseline visits and then are randomized, by chance, like the flip of a coin, to one of two therapy programs. Both courses include eight therapy visits and teach coping skills for depressive symptoms. However, in one therapy program participants receive a personalized feedback about their alcohol use, while in the other program they may or may not talk about alcohol consumption depending on the students’ preference. Both courses teach the same coping skills for depressive symptoms but include different levels of focus on alcohol. Participants complete one follow-up assessment visit at the end of the therapy program and one four weeks later. The three assessment visits are reimbursed.
Register for this study.
Development and Testing of Adolescent Twelve-Step FacilitationPrincipal Investigator: Kelly, 2011—2016Study Reference: National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism/R01AA019664-01A1
This study is the first to develop and test in a randomized experimental design the efficacy of an integrated 12-step facilitation intervention tailored for young people.
Enhancing Outcomes, Reducing Costs: Evaluating Peer Support for Mood DisorderPrincipal Investigator: Kelly, 2014—2016Study Reference: National Institute of Mental Health/R21MH101271-01
This study will characterize Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) participants and their participation in the organization; and, obtain preliminary estimates of the organizations’ purported clinical and recovery utility.
Register for this study.
Comprehensive CVD Risk Reduction Trial in Persons with Serious Mental Illness (Triumph Trial)
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