Neuropsychocardiology Research

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The major focuses of Dr. Wei Jiang’s research laboratory are to investigate the interaction between the mind, brain, and the cardiovascular system, to identify means of reducing the adverse effects of mental illness and stress on patients with cardiovascular disease, and to extend the understanding of how the brain-mind interacts with other parts of the human body through research.

The ongoing research projects of the laboratory aim to answer whether treatment with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor may improve the prognosis of patients with chronic heart failure, whether similar treatments may reduce mental stress-induced myocardial ischemia, whether distributing depression education materials among patients with heart failure may result in increasing depression recognition and depression care, and whether medications that reduce neuropathic pain may also improve autonomic nerve regulation, etc.

Current Clinical Research Studies

REMIT
REMIT is a randomized study using Escitalopram (Lexapro) versus placebo. The goal of REMIT is to investigate the response of Mental Stress Induced Myocardial Ischemia (MSIMI) to Escitalopram to determine whether MSIMI will be reduced by the treatment, and whether the modification of MSIMI is related to improvement of depression symptoms, and/or to reduction of platelet aggregation, and/or to reduction of cardiovascular reactivity. The study sample will consist of 120 patients (men or women), age 21 or greater, with a stable IHD and MSIMI. This study is schedule to begin Summer 2007. If you are interested in participating in this research study please contact Jennifer Wilson.

Completed Clinical Research Studies

SADHART
SADHART is a randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled study designed to assess the safety and efficacy of Sertraline in the treatment of depression in patients with congestive heart failure (CHF). The study is also designed to examine the effects of treating depression on cardiac events and morbidity/mortality in CHF patients.

The study population aims to include 500 men and women, older than or equal to 45 years of age with current major depressive disorder and CHF, characterized by a left ventricular ejection fraction less than or equal to 45% and New York Heart Association (NYHA) class II symptoms. Currently, the study is approaching the 400 mark in its recruitment.

PREGABALIN
Pregabalin is a randomized study using Pregabalin versus placebo. The study is designed to examine how Pregabalin affects the autonomic nerve or sympathetic-parasympathetic regulation in patients with diabetic neuropathy and its relationship to neuropathic pain. It assesses the change of parameters of autonomic nerve functions such as HRV, RSA, minute ventilation and changes in objective sleep parameters. Additionally, changes in anxiety and depressive symptoms and relationship of autonomic nerve function with pain, anxiety and depressive symptoms are also tracked. The study population will be 30 to 40 patients with diabetic neuropathic pain with an aim of having minimum 15 patients complete each arm of the study.

SAD-PD
SAD-PD is a Multi-Center trial lead by The University of Rochester. This study investigates the affects of anti-depressants for Parkinson 's disease, the study will help better treat depression in Parkinson 's disease patients. This study will focus on two anti-depressants paroxetine and venlafaxine and will observe if they help control depression in Parkinson 's disease. The study will further determine if these medications affect the motor symptoms of Parkinson 's disease such as shaking, stiffness and balance. The expected total enrollment including all sites is 228 patients with Parkinson 's disease and symptoms of depression.

Research Team

PI: Wei Jiang, MD
Senior Research Associate / Lab Coordinator: Stephen Boyle, PhD
Study Coordinator: Jennifer Wilson
Office Assistant: Sharon Walker
Statistician: Maragatha Kuchibhatla, PhD

Collaborating Members from the Duke Heart Center:
Richard Becker, MD, MEd
Eric Velazquez, MD, FACC, FACP, FASE
Zainab Samad, MD, MHS
Kristin Newby, MD, MHS
Christopher O’Connor, MD
Study Cardiac Nurse: Kristine Arges, RN
Sonographer: Brenda Sedberry
Sonographer: Dawn Y. Rabineau
Sonographer: Alicia Paoletti
Technical Manager: Karen Strub

Other Collaborators from Duke University:
James Blumenthal, PhD
Redford Williams, MD
Thomas Ortel, MD, PhD
Joseph Rogers, MD
Cynthia Kuhn, PhD

In the News

Check out the following links to learn more about our research and our involvement in the community.

WRAL news coverage by David Crabtree of our study REMIT

Dr. Wei Jiang’s nomination for the prestigious MLK Community Caregiver Award