Characterization of Phenotypic and Genotypic Regressors for Imaging

  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Updated on 28 July 2022
substance use
drugs of abuse
drug abuse
psychiatric disorder
substance abuse
toxicology screen
Accepts healthy volunteers


The influence of genes on addictive and neuropsychiatric disorders is complex, especially given that multiple genes likely influence certain behaviors that are correlated with addiction. Researchers are interested in looking at the genetic information of individuals who are enrolled on National Institute for Drug Abuse studies to investigate specific genetic variants that may be related to substance abuse. Researchers will study the effects of genes on several aspects of thinking such as attention, memory, decision making, problem solving, learning, and emotional feelings, and investigate the ways in which genetic information affects addictive behaviors and substance abuse. In addition, researchers will study how genes may explain differences in imaging data in substance users.

  • To collect genetic information for research on genetic aspects of addiction and substance abuse.
  • Adults age 18 or older
  • (1) healthy, non-drug-using nonsmokers,
  • (2) healthy smokers,
  • (3) healthy individuals dependent on other commonly abused drugs, and
  • (4) individuals with other psychiatric disorders.
  • Participants must be right-handed, and must be enrolled in another National Institute on Drug Abuse, Intramural Research Program imaging protocol.
  • This study involves one to two visits to National Institute on Drug Abuse, Intramural Research Program that may be separate from the participant's current research protocol study visits or on the same day as those visits.
  • Participants will provide a blood sample and complete questionnaires about mood, memory, and learning.
  • Participants may also be asked to do a few tasks, such as playing computer games involving coin tosses and money management, or responding to questions on a computer screen.


Objective: To determine genetic variants as well as behavioral measures across different study group populations. Results of these will be used as regressors to help explain inter-individual differences in data collected across IRP protocols.

Study Population: The study population will include 1) healthy non-smoking, participants with no substance use disorders 2) healthy individuals with nicotine use disorder 3) healthy individuals with other substance use disorders 4) individuals with other psychiatric disorders and 5) treatment-seeking individuals with substance use disorders. Participants must be under evaluation for another NIDA-IRP protocol, generally healthy, and age 18 or older.

Design: The main study will require approximately 5-8 hours. Main study procedures may be done in 1 visit or multiple visits, and may be done in conjunction with another NIDA-IRP study. After being consented into the main study, the participant will be asked to submit a blood sample, an MRI scan, complete various questionnaires, characterization instruments and several behavioral tasks. Blood will only be drawn once, provided there are no technical problems (such as sample damage during collection, preparation, shipping or assay) requiring a repeat draw. If participants enroll in other NIDA-IRP imaging protocols, they will be asked to repeat a few of the time- sensitive questionnaires in this protocol during the MRI visits of the other protocols. Data acquired in this protocol will be compared to data acquired in other NIDA-IRP protocols.

An arm of this protocol will be used to pilot test a phenotyping battery developed by the NIDA CTN. This battery overlaps with several of the assessments in the main protocol. Participants in the NIDA CTN pilot study who also meet criteria for the main study may participate in the main study as well. The CTN Pilot procedures require approximately 4-6 hours to complete.

Outcome Measures: The primary outcome measures in this study are the genetic, behavioral and phenotypic factors that are related to addiction. Secondary outcome measures are to compare the genetic, behavioral and phenotypic factors to imaging and behavioral data acquired across other IRP protocols.

Condition Healthy Volunteers, Substance Use Disorders
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT01148381
SponsorNational Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Last Modified on28 July 2022


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

NIDA CTN Pilot Study
All participants must
Either have a current DMS-5 nicotine, cocaine, marijuana or opiate use disorder, possibly in combination, or have no current DSM-5 substance use disorder (control participants). Justification: These criteria are consistent with the scope of this study to pilot this battery of tests for future use in similar populations enrolled in the NIDA CTN studies
Be greater than or equal to 18 years of age. Justification: The NIDA CTN will use this battery in adults

Exclusion Criteria

NIDA CTN Pilot Study
A DSM-5 major psychiatric diagnoses unrelated to a substance use disorder including but not limited to bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Diagnoses secondary to substance use disorder will be allowable providing the participant s symptoms do not interfere with the ability to complete assessments. Assessment tool: self-report, H&P, structured or semi-structured psychiatric interview
complete the assessments and would add unnecessary noise to the data
Rationale: Current major mood or psychotic disorders may impair ability to
Cognitive impairment. Assessment tool: self-report during H&P of special education classes, history of specific learning disability or mental retardation, WASI. Rationale: Cognitive impairment may impair ability to complete the assessments and would add unnecessary noise to the data
Non-English speaking. Assessment tool(s): self-report. Rationale: To include non-English speakers, we would have to translate the consent and other study documents and hire and train bilingual staff, which would require resources that we do not have and could not justify given the small sample size for each experiment. Additionally, the data integrity of some of the cognitive tasks and standardized questionnaires used in this study would be compromised as they have only been validated in English. Most importantly, ongoing communication regarding safety procedures is necessary when participants are undergoing study procedures. The inability to effectively communicate safety procedures in a language other than English could compromise the safety of non-English speaking participants
Suspected or confirmed active SARS-CoV-2 infection. Assessment tool: 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) patient screening tool administered by phone prior to participant arrival. The current version of the screening tool to be used is available at <>). Viral testing looking for SARS-CoV-2 in a specimen deemed appropriate by NIH such as nasopharyngeal or mid- turbinate swab. We reserve the right to change the specimen type as NIH approves new test procedures. This test may be carried out in-house at NIDA, NIH, at a community testing site or through a commercial vendor. Anyone with a positive symptom screen without a clear alternative explanation or a positive viral test will be excluded until they recover or (for asymptomatic cases) are no longer infectious. MAI will also retain the ability to exclude for a suspicious symptom screen without positive viral test. Rationale: Covid-19 is extremely infectious and can have serious consequences. Allowing participants with active infection would alter the risk:benefit ratio for non- treatment studies without a primary focus on SARS-CoV-2 to an unacceptable level of risk. In addition, Covid-19 can have cognitive consequences which would add unnecessary noise to the study data. Testing will continue as long as public health officials and/or NIDA medical personnel deem it appropriate
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