October 1, 2013
Part of the danger of opioids like oxycodone, morphine, and heroin stems from their highly addictive nature. In a new project funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Methodology Center Investigator Stephanie Lanza will collaborate with colleague Hobart Cleveland and Principal Investigators Roger Meyer and Scott Bunce’s team from Penn State’s Milton S. Hershey Medical Center to improve treatment outcomes for patients recovering from opioid dependence. By following patients for seven months, researchers will track changes in the patients’ brain reward systems from initial detoxification through residential care and a follow-up period. The researchers will use time-varying effect models to better understand changes in mood, stress level, craving, and sleep. By studying these processes through initial recovery from dependence, researchers will learn how chemical balances in the brain return to levels typically found in people who are not dependent on opioids.