The University of Illinois at Chicago has received a three-year, $2.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to study brain function to see how behavioral therapies affect patients’ ability to follow prescribed drug regimens and lifestyle recommendations.
Using brain scans, mobile technology, and virtual-reality experiments, the researchers will investigate how the brain responds to two integrated behavioral therapies to help patients with co-existing obesity and depression to manage both conditions. The researchers will then try to optimize the therapy and follow the further changes in the brain and improvements in mood and weight loss.
“Being able to adopt and stick to lifestyle changes is a reflection of a patient’s ability to self-regulate, or manage their health issues on their own, by making healthy choices and adhering to the advice of their care team,” says Dr. Jun Ma, professor of health policy and administration in the UIC School of Public Health and principal investigator on the grant. “If we know more about how the brain changes or adapts in response to behavioral therapy, especially areas involved in self-regulation, then we can begin to tailor therapy to individual patients.”
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