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Past Studies

Tantrum Tool: Open Pilot Study of Digital Parent Training for Irritability and Disruptive Behavior in Young Children

The purpose of this open pilot study was to study the impact of Digital Parent Training (DPT). Specifically, we sought to evaluate the feasibility, acceptability, and parents’ ability to deliver an online version of parent management training (PMT) using the MindNest Health online platform. Participants were parents of 3- to 9-year-old children with irritability and disruptive behaviors. The broader goal of this DPT intervention is to increase access to PMT, which is a well-studied and effective behavioral treatment for children with tantrums and noncompliant behaviors. The intervention is designed to improve parents’ skills and strategies when helping their child with tantrums and noncompliant behaviors within the context of natural environments.

Neural Mechanisms of Irritability and Aggression in Children Across Diagnostic Categories

This research study used functional neuroimaging and electrophysiology to understand neural mechanisms of aggression toward the goal of identifying neural targets for intervention. Funded by an R01 grant from the NIMH in response to the Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) approach, this research aimed to elucidate brain and behavior dimensions of the frustrative non-reward construct of the RDoC matrix. In addition to clinical effects of behavioral therapy on aggression, this study examined functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) biomarkers of aggression and its reduction after treatment.

Clinical Efficacy and Neural Mechanisms of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for Irritability and Aggression in Children and Adolescents

This was a randomized-controlled trial of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) versus a supportive psychotherapy control condition in 8- to 16-year-old children and adolescents with high levels of disruptive and aggressive behavior. Funded in response to the NIMH Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) approach, this study used an experimental therapeutics approach to examine the brain-behavior association of frustrative-nonreward in a large sample of children and adolescents seeking treatment for irritability and disruptive behavior.

Real-Time fMRI Neurofeedback for Tourette Syndrome

This was the first randomized-controlled trial of real-time functional magnetic resonance imaging neurofeedback (rt-fMRI) in adolescents with Tourette Syndrome (TS). Results suggest that the neurofeedback intervention may be helpful for improving tic symptoms. The study enrolled 21 subjects with TS ages 11 to 19 years who were tasked with alternately raising and lowering activity in the supplementary motor area, a brain region associated with tics in Tourette Syndrome, using a real-time fMRI neurofeedback intervention developed by Dr. Michelle Hampson at the Department Radiology and Biomedical Imaging. There was a significant reduction of tics in subjects during the training, which exceeded symptom improvements in a sham control condition, suggesting that the neurofeedback may be helpful for treating Tourette symptoms.

Parent Training for Disruptive Behavior and Noncompliance in Young Children with Autism

The goal of this multi-site clinical trial was to evaluate the efficacy of a structured parent training compared to parent education in 3- to 7-year-old children with autism spectrum disorder. The study was conducted by a network of investigators from Yale University, Emory University, Ohio State University, Indiana University, the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Rochester. Using a sample of 180 children, this study demonstrated that parent training can be effective for improving behavioral problems and daily functioning in children with autism.

Comprehensive Behavioral Intervention for Tics (CBIT) in Children and Adults with Tourette Syndrome

These studies were conducted by investigators Yale University, Johns Hopkins, MGH/Harvard, UCLA, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and Wilford Hall Medical Center to investigate the effectiveness of behavioral therapy for tics. This treatment, also known as habit reversal training, was shown to be helpful for reducing tics in children and adults. We continue to investigate neural mechanisms of behavior therapy for tics by analyzing EEG data that was collected before and after treatment.