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VISN 6 > Research > Interventions and Metabolomics Research Lab


Clinical Interventions & Metabolomics Lab

The overarching goal of this research lab is to identify and implement new pharmacological and behavioral treatment strategies that are maximally effective for disorders impacting OEF/OIF/OND Veterans. This lab is also investigating candidate neurosteroid, other small-molecule, and protein biomarkers that are potentially relevant to the pathophysiology and treatment of post-deployment mental health. Neurosteroid investigations utilize a highly sensitive and specific state-of-the-art technique that is mass spectrometry-based. This method can reliably quantify neurosteroids with a sensitivity of two trillionths of a gram (2 x 10-12 grams or 2 picograms). Several pharmacological agents that are effective for PTSD and depression increase neurosteroids (including SSRIs), and these molecules may thus contribute to their therapeutic efficacy. Furthermore, certain neurosteroids enhance learning and memory in rodent models. It is, therefore, logical to target these compounds directly as agents for pharmacological intervention. Current randomized placebo-controlled double-blind clinical trials include a project targeting the secondary prevention of PTSD with paroxetine in OEF/OIF/OND Veterans. Additional studies that are now actively enrolling utilize a novel neurosteroid intervention to treat cognitive symptoms in Veterans with PTSD and schizophrenia.

The Clinical Interventions & Metabolomics Lab also investigates the neurobiological underpinnings of suicidal behaviors and the role of neurosteroids in nicotine dependence. Improved clinical interventions are urgently needed to address the post-deployment mental health needs of OEF/OIF/OND Veterans. The primary mission of this research lab is to investigate new treatments that integrate both bench and bedside endeavors by translating basic science findings to new clinical interventions that will positively impact Veteran health.

Christine Marx, M.D.

Jason Kilts, Ph.D.
Assistant Director

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