Grant To Allow Study of Adolescent Trauma And Addiction Later In Life

May 29, 2014

Researchers at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences are getting a grant of nearly $1.5 million to look at the effects of trauma on teenage girls to see if there’s a direct connection to drug addiction later in life.

Dr. Clint Kilts is lead investigator of the study, which is being funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

“We see trauma in many forms, whether it’s childhood abuse or neglect or adolescent assault exposure," which Kilts says disrupts the normal organizational structure and function of the human brain.

The goal is to have 180 participants in the study, two-thirds of whom would be girls between the ages of 13 and 16 who have been exposed to violent or traumatic events, with the remaining one-third being drug dependent women.

All would be interviewed and subject to magnetic resonance imaging to study their brain fuctions.

Kilts says it's an evolution in the study of drug addiction.

“I and other investigators have moved more recently into understanding not necessarily how to treat the addicted state, but the development of the addicted state and how the brain codes that development. So this particular grant focuses on studying the origins of the addiction process in adolescents and studying the interaction of the risk factors of adolescents with other risk factors like exposure to trauma.”

People interested in taking part in the study, who would be financially compensated if they qualify, should contact Sonet Smitherman at 501-526-8386 to learn more.