Department of Psychiatry

Penn Behavioral Health

Brain-Behavioral Vulnerabilities Laboratory

Clinical Studies

Click on the links below to find out more about the research studies for which you may qualify:

The Challenge

Though many individuals are exposed to rewarding drugs of abuse (and rewarding activities such as eating or playing video games), only a subgroup become “addicted” – pursuing these rewarding substances or activities despite negative consequences. Why do only some become addicted? Why do some who are addicted have more difficulty with relapse?  And why do some treatments work well for one individual, but not for another? In our view, the answers to these critical questions lie in the individual differences in the structure and function of the organ that is responsible for everything that we think and feel and do: the brain.  The Brain-Behavioral Vulnerabilities Laboratory (BBV) is thus focused on identifying the role of the brain in relapse, and in addiction itself.  We conduct research studies that use brain imaging to measure the way the brain responds – whether “At Rest”, or in response to behavioral tasks or games, and/or to ongoing treatments (therapies and medications). These overall goals of these studies are to improve our understanding of why relapse occurs, to develop new treatments to prevent relapse, and – eventually -- to learn to how to match an individual’s brain strengths to the available treatments.

The Brain-Behavioral Vulnerabilities Laboratory is currently recruiting for a number of "active" clinical studies, as indicated below. The "pending" studies are not yet recruiting, but funding is in place.

Many of these studies offer (behavioral and/or medication) addiction treatment either as part of the research study itself, or as a benefit of participating in the scan studies.

If you are eligible for research participation, the treatments offered are always at no cost to you, and you will also be compensated for your research participation.

There is a detailed screening process to determine your eligibility for each study.

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