Scleroderma (systemic sclerosis) is a chronic autoimmune disease, characterized by dysregulation of immune cells in the blood and subsequent fibrosis and vascular dysfunction, associated with significant mortality and morbidity, disproportionately affecting women and African Americans, and without satisfactory treatments. Monocytes, a type of blood immune cells, are critically involved, but the mechanisms responsible for their deregulation in scleroderma remain largely unknown. The goal of this project is to understand how the regulation of monocytes differs between scleroderma and healthy individuals. Volunteers will be asked to provide a blood sample, for which modest compensation will be provided. This is not a drug study.
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), a non-invasive form of brain stimulation, produces lasting changes in the brain to treat depression and other brain disorders. Emphasis on clinical indications and efficacy has far outpaced a mechanistic understanding of how these changes are produced. In this study, we propose use of the pharmacologic agents d-cycloserine, demonstrated to be safe for human use, to probe in the molecular mechanism of long-term potentiation, the cellular basis of learning and memory. We will measure whether this agent can respectively strengthen the potentiation produced by TMS by looking at the amplitude of motor response (called motor evoked potential or MEP) of the thumb (through electromyography, or EMG).
A better understanding of its mechanism of action promises to optimize our ability to use TMS, and potentially improve duration and degree of response.
The purpose of this study is to evaluate the brain's ability to adapt to sequential single pulses of TMS. TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation) is a non-invasive form of brain stimulation which can be delivered in an MRI scanner. This technique, interleaved TMS/MRI, was first developed at MUSC over 20 years ago and is helping us understand brain connectivity. Healthy individuals 18-55 years of age may be eligible to participate in this new study. The study requires 2 visits each of which will last 45-60min. On one visit individuals will receive real TMS pulses. On the other visit they will receive sham TMS pulses.
The purpose of this study is to develop a non-invasive form of brain stimulation called transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), specifically TMS at a frequency known as theta burst stimulation (TBS), as a potential treatment to food related cravings. TBS is a technique that uses magnetic pulses to temporarily stimulate specific brain areas in awake people (without the need for surgery, anesthetic, or other invasive procedures). This study will test whether TBS over the prefrontal cortex can produce a reduction in responses to food cues. This will be examined through behavioral assessments and functional MRI's given before and after TBS administration. TMS has been approved by the FDA as an investigational tool as well a therapy for depression. However, TMS is not currently approved by the Food and Drug Administration as a treatment for food related cravings, eating disorders, or addictions.
We will be inducing mild pain to healthy volunteers within the MRI scanner, and then administering a new form of brain stimulation, called Low Intensity Focused Ultrasound Pulses (LIFUP). LIFUP uses ultrasound, like used in radiology, but in pulses. This causes neurons to become active. We will test whether delivering LIFUP to a region deep in the brain, the thalamus, can temporarily change pain ratings. This study will help us understand how to use LIFUP and will then lead to other applications of this most interesting new way to noninvasively stimulate the brain.
This study aims to evaluate the effects of odor on pain perception. Specifically, this study will determine whether healthy subjects will indicate greater pain tolerance to a heat stimulus while smelling different odors.
Traumatic Brain Injury is a risk factor for Alzheimer's Disease and other dementias. This study will use neuroimaging in Veterans and civilians with a history of TBI or without TBI to understand whether some of the brain changes that occur in Alzheimer's Disease are present in people with a history of TBI. The study is recruiting male and female military Veterans or civilians with or without TBI between the ages of 18 and 64.
We will study how well the relatively new FDA approved pneumonia vaccine can protect older renal transplant recipients against pneumococcal illness. We will specifically study the group of renal transplants in whom the cause of renal failure was either diabetes mellitus II and/or hyoertension. We will compare the findings against those we find in younger renal transplant recipients, older healthy individuals and older persons with diabetes but normal kidney function. Healthy younger individuals will serve as controls for optimal vaccine response.
This is a research study to find out whether patient characteristics such as BMI, age, gender, and hand dominance are associated with range of motion in patients with healthy shoulders. It is hoped this information will better help us understand what affects motion in the healthy shoulder providing a useful control in evaluating clinical outcomes in a diverse group of patients presenting with shoulder pathology. This will ultimately allow us to better counsel patients undergoing shoulder surgery regarding expectations for improvements in range of motion postoperatively.
When a person swallows, squeezing pressure is created to drive food and liquid down the throat to the esophagus (food tube). If a person has a swallowing impairment, meaning it is hard for him/her to swallow, he/she may need to use more squeezing pressure to drive the food or liquid down the throat to the esophagus. For this study, we want to examine the effect of making it harder to swallow (by placing a device around your neck that applies pressure to your neck) on how much squeezing pressure is needed to swallow liquids in normal people. After numbing the inside of your nose with numbing cream, we will use two instruments at the same time to measure this: 1) a small scope placed through your nose into the upper part of your throat, so that a camera can record the movements of your throat before and after swallowing and 2) a small catheter placed through your nose and fed into your stomach while you swallow, which records the squeezing pressures of the muscles in your throat and esophagus. We also want to see how much liquid remains in the throat after swallowing and how well the windpipe is protected from liquid entering it before, during, and after swallowing.