Where Would We Be Without Research?

(Editor’s Note:  I am pleased to offer this guest blog by Hannah Frering who is the research coordinator at the Child Emotion Regulation Lab, Vermont Center for Children, Youth, and Families – DCR)

Medicine has come quite a long way since the medieval era where doctors would amputate at the first sign of infection, or would quickly diagnose patients’ terminal problems and send them away without intervention. The advancement of science and technology is the crucial step to how doctors are able to prescribe lifesaving drugs, and control robots that operate on patients. But, how do uncover the science and technology necessary for treatment of medical problems? hannahResearch.

The University of Vermont is a leader of education in the science and technology fields, with the College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Honors College, and the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources all performing ground breaking research. Furthermore, clinical and laboratory research being conducted at the University of Vermont Medical Center is central to the mission of the University. Spanning from clinical vaccine trials of a dengue fever vaccine, to neuroimaging assessing the relationship of drugs and the human brain, the UVM College of Medicine hosts 15 academic departments engaging in research.

At any time in the Vermont Center for Children, Youth, and Families, we have multiple studies recruiting for participants both from the pediatric psychiatry clinic and from the community. Principal investigator Dr. Robert Althoff is currently recruiting patients and families through collaboration with the Vermont Center on Behavior and Health. This major project investigates the epigenetic and psychophysiological mechanisms underlying severe forms of childhood psychiatric disorders. This work seeks to understand the long-term consequences of these disorders on psychiatric and non-psychiatric health in adulthood. In addition to this, there are two smaller projects recruiting through the Child Emotion Regulation Lab. One of the other studies is striving to examine the influence of television pacing and attentional symptoms, involving executive functioning. With funding from the University of Vermont Medical Group, Dr. James Hudziak is conducting a large clinical trial of the Vermont Family Based Approach in pediatrics clinics. This new way of treating whole families represents the culmination of years of research on the individual components of wellness, prevention, and family-based intervention. Dr. David Rettew is studying medication utilization at a state level, child temperament, and bullying.

So, why are we investigating these topics? Children diagnosed with psychiatric disorders need assistance to focus, self-regulate, and perform adequately in school. Research in child psychiatry has lagged far behind other medical fields and we are trying to catch up. Research in the Vermont Center for Children, Youth, and Families seeks to connect symptoms found in kids with attentional problems, or self-regulation problems to issues that may arise later in life, like metabolic problems or substance abuse. This research is essential not only for determining causes of psychiatric problems, but leading to solutions.

Interested in participating in research in the VCCYF? Check out our VCCYF and Child Emotion Regulation Lab webpages.

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