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UPMC Media Relations 

UPMC Researchers Studying Effects Of Insomnia

PITTSBURGH, April 30, 2003

Researchers at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic (WPIC) of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center have received a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health to study the causes, effects and treatment of insomnia.

Insomnia is a subjective complaint of difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, poor sleep quality or inadequate sleep duration, despite an adequate opportunity for sleep.

In this study, sleep will be examined through overnight laboratory-based sleep evaluations. A subset of participants will be asked to undergo three PET scans during their initial sleep evaluation. Measures of disturbance and arousal will include questionnaires, diary-based assessments and physiological measures.

Men and women ages 20 through 50 with symptoms of primary insomnia who are otherwise healthy may be eligible. Individuals with unstable acute or chronic medical conditions, current or past major psychiatric disorders, current sleep disorders or who take medications that affect the sleep-wake cycle are not eligible.

Sleep evaluations will be at WPICs Clinical Neuroscience Research Center. The initial evaluation will consist of three consecutive nights, the second evaluation, two nights. After the initial evaluation, participants will enter an intervention phase in which they will be randomized to receive one of two medications or placebo. During this time, participants will meet weekly with one of the physician-investigators. The second sleep evaluation will occur on completion of the eight-week intervention phase. Participants will be given the option of receiving open treatment for two months after they have finished the study.

The study participants asked to undergo the PET scans during their initial sleep evaluation will be evaluated for four nights spaced over five days. The first PET scan will occur about one hour after waking, the second and third will take place during sleep on the third and fifth night. Prior to the initial sleep evaluation, these participants will undergo an MRI.

Upon completion of the study, participants will be paid $200, or $275 if they have elected to have the three PET scans.

The researchers also need 33 men and women ages 20 to 50 without insomnia to act as study controls. They will undergo the same two-part assessment interview, home evaluation and laboratory-based sleep evaluation. Upon completion, control subjects will be paid $250.

For more information about the study or to find out how to participate, please call 412-246-6400 or visit the Web site

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