Peter Thomas Morgan MD, PhD
Associate Professor of Psychiatry; Associate Director, Cocaine Research Clinic; Medical Director, Forensic Drug Diversion Clinic; President, Medical and Professional Staff of Connecticut Mental Health Center
Sleep; Cocaine; Learning; Dreaming; Lucid dreams; Consciousness
Current ProjectsMy recent and current human subject studies have examined sleep and learning in cocaine dependence and the relevance of GABA neurotransmission thereon, and have sought neurophysiological markers of alcohol craving. Experimental tools used include EEG/ERP, polysomnography (PSG), cocaine self-administration, neuroimaging, and a variety of standard and newly developed cognitive tasks including visual, motor, and verbal learning tasks, as well tasks of attention and memory.
Another project examines lucid dreaming and what differentiates lucid dreamers from non-lucid dreamers in terms of brain function. This project is directed at understanding the brain processes that lead to different types of consciousness.
I am interested in the neurophysiology of substance dependence for its own sake and as a window into understanding cognition and behavior. The major focus of my laboratory is the examination of the role of disturbances of sleep and sleep-dependent memory consolidation in chronic substance use and other mental illnesses. My laboratory has found that abstinent male cocaine users suffer from an "occult" insomnia. Although their sleep is objectively poor and they exhibit cognitive disruptions related to this poor sleep, they believe that their sleep is unimpaired.
Recent findings suggest that modafinil, a wakefulness promoting agent, reverses some of the sleep deficits associated with chronic cocaine use.