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Yale Sleep Researchers Awarded $4.6M To Study Sleep Deficiency / Opioid Use Disorder

October 07, 2019
by Julie Parry

Henry Klar Yaggi, MD, MPH, associate professor of medicine; vice chief of Research at Yale’s Section of Pulmonary, Critical Care & Sleep Medicine, director of the Yale Centers for Sleep Medicine, and an investigator at the VA CT Clinical Epidemiology Research Center (CERC) was recently awarded a grant through The Helping to End Addiction Long-term, or the NIH HEAL Initiative.

The National Institutes of Health launched the Helping to End Addiction Long-term Initiative, or NIH HEAL Initiative, in April 2018 to improve prevention and treatment strategies for opioid misuse and addiction and enhance pain management. The NIH HEAL Initiative aims to improve treatments for chronic pain, curb the rates of opioid use disorder and overdose and achieve long-term recovery from opioid addiction.

Yaggi is an expert on the diverse health implications of sleep deficiency with an emphasis on informing clinical care. He has teamed with a multidisciplinary group of investigators including Dustin Scheinost, PhD, assistant professor from the Department of Radiology & Biomedical Imaging;  Declan Barry, PhD, associate professor from the Department of Psychiatry and the APT Foundation, and Nancy Schmieder Redeker, PhD, RN, FAHA, FAAN, Beatrice Renfield Term Professor at the Yale School of Nursing on the project entitled, “The Collaboration Linking Opioid Use Disorder and Sleep (CLOUDS).”

Using fMRI brain imaging, the CLOUDS study will examine functional brain connectivity across different brain regions (“connectomes”) to identify biomarkers or “neural fingerprints” that will uncover neuro-biologic mechanisms linking sleep deficiency and OUD that can be used in the future development and testing of novel therapeutic approaches.

“Sleep is critical for preserving normal brain function, and sleep deficiency is known to disrupt many of the same neural processes altered in addictive disorders. Thus, sleep deficiency could be an important risk factor in causing relapse and perpetual drug use,” said Yaggi.

Five faculty within the Department of Internal Medicine won awards as part of the NIH HEAL Initiative, which funded 75 grant awards across 41 states in fiscal year 2019 to apply scientific solutions to reverse the national opioid crisis.

“It’s clear that a multi-pronged scientific approach is needed to reduce the risks of opioids, accelerate development of effective non-opioid therapies for pain and provide more flexible and effective options for treating addiction to opioids,” said NIH Director Francis S. Collins, MD, PhD, who launched the initiative in early 2018. “This unprecedented investment in the NIH HEAL Initiative demonstrates the commitment to reversing this devastating crisis.”

The Section of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine is one of the eleven sections within Yale School of Medicine’s Department of Internal Medicine. To learn more about Yale-PCCSM, visit PCCSM’s website, or follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

Submitted by Julie Parry on October 07, 2019