Are you aged 18–55 and smoke or vape nicotine-containing products at least twice per month? You may be able to participate in a research study to learn more about a protein in the brain that may play a role in substance use disorders. Compensation is provided.
Some research suggests that a protein called nociceptin/orphanin FQ plays an important role in substance use disorders. Nociceptin/orphanin FQ is used by the brain to pass messages between brain cells, and may help regulate pain, stress, and reward functions.
The purpose of this study is to learn more about the role of nociceptin/orphanin FQ in people who smoke or vape products that contain nicotine. Researchers hope their findings will lead to better ways to prevent relapse in substance use disorders in the future.
COULD THIS STUDY BE RIGHT FOR YOU?
- Ages 18-55
- Smoke or vape nicotine-containing products two or more times per month
- Medication-free (birth control is acceptable)
- Not pregnant or breastfeeding
- No present or past psychiatric conditions, such as bipolar disorder, psychotic disorder, alcohol and/or drug use disorder
- No current or past history of serious medical conditions (hypertension, heart attack, seizure, stroke)
- Able and willing to undergo MRI and PET/CT scanning (not claustrophobic, no non-removable metal in your body)
WHAT PARTICIPANTS CAN EXPECT
Study participation involves at least three visits over 2-3 weeks and includes questionnaires, interviews, brain scanning, blood and urine tests, and other procedures. The brain scanning includes magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, positron emission tomography/computerized tomography (PET/CT) scans, electrocardiogram, and the administration of intravenous hydrocortisone.
IRB: STUDY20060171A- Imaging the mechanisms by which nociceptin receptors (NOP) modulate stress and reward in cocaine use disorders
MEET THE RESEARCHER
Dr. Rajesh Narendran, MD, is an Associate Professor of Radiology at the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Narendran specializes in using positron emission tomography (PET) radiotracers to understand the neurochemical abnormalities in stress-related and addictive disorders in humans. Aside from his work in research, Dr. Narendran is a fully licensed PA physician and a board-certified psychiatrist who treats drug/alcohol addicted and psychiatric patients at the UPMC WPIC re:solve crisis center.