Dr. Charles Raison Awarded 2013 IMHR Pilot Grant

$20,000 from the Institute for Mental Health Research
Dr. Charles RaisonCharles L. Raison, MD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry in the College of Medicine and Barry and Janet Lang Associate Professor in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, has been awarded a 2013 IMHR Pilot Grant of $20,000 by the Institute for Mental Health Research to study, “Antidepressant Effects of Whole Body Hyperthermia (WBH)”.

These funds will augment existing extramural funding to help support an ongoing controlled study of mild whole body hyperthermia. This study builds upon prior open data from the research team suggesting that sensory pathways running from the brain to the body may be involved in the development of major depression and may hold promise as new ways of treating the disorder.

"What's really remarkable in the work done so far is the evidence that is beginning to accumulate suggesting that it might be possible to treat this hugely costly mental illness by interventions based in the body, not in the brain," according to Dr. Raison. "Because sensory pathways evolved to have very specific effects on brain function and resultant behavior, we increasingly think they might be utilized to craft very specific and benign treatments for depression and anxiety. We have designed the hyperthermia study to begin really testing this possibility. ”

Ole J. Thienhaus, MD, MBA, Professor and Chair, Psychiatry, at the University of Arizona College of Medicine says, “I consider Dr. Raison to be one of our field's most innovative and important investigators in the area of brain-body approaches to the treatment of mood disorders.”

Collaborating researchers on the project include Patricia Haynes, PhD, from the Department of Psychiatry in the College of Medicine; Matthias Mehl, PhD, John J.B. Allen, PhD, from the Department of Psychology in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences; Rebecca Reed, Clemens Janssen and Tommy Begay, PhD, from the Norton School of Family and Consumer Sciences in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences; Dean Billheimer, PhD, BIO5 Institute; Megan Robbins, PhD , from University of California Riverside; Christopher Lowry, PhD, from the Department of Integrative Physiology; University of Colorado Boulder, and Kay-u Hanusch, Aeskulap Clinic, Switzerland.

Founded in 2001, the Institute for Mental Health Research is the only statewide, non-profit organization dedicated to mental health research in the United States. The Institute’s mission, in partnership with Arizona researchers and direct care providers, is to support broad based, innovative mental health research. IMHR funds mental health research across the lifespan, from childhood to late life.

Over the past ten years, IMHR has invested nearly $1.5 million in seed grants for mental health research projects. These supported scientists have leveraged these dollars to attract additional funding with a six to one return on investment—this represents a total of more than $10 million in research dollars invested in Arizona.

IMHR’s External Advisory Board consists of prominent scientist from across the United States. Past and present members include leading researchers from the NIH, Scripps, University of Pittsburgh, Penn State and Harvard. This board is chaired by Dr. David Kupfer, the Thomas Detre Professor at the University of Pittsburgh and Chair of the DSM-5 Task force.

Dr. Raison’s project is also supported in part by grants from the Depressive & Bipolar Disorder Alternative Treatment Foundation, the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation (formally NARSAD) and Barry and Janet Lang, and in-kind support from the Braun Foundation to provide a Heckel HT3000 hyperthermia device for use in the study.

 For more information on the Institute for Mental Health Research, visit http://imhr.org