Research at the SCAN Lab

The SCAN Lab's research is based in the desire to understand the development of cognitive and affective brain processes and how these processes are affected by stressful events.

The Maternal Well-Being Study

Maternal Well-Being Study Logo

Postpartum depression is a major public health concern, with consequences that can be enduring for women and their children. However, few evidence-based preventative interventions are available for women at high risk for developing postpartum depression.

The focus of the Maternal Well-Being Study is to connect women with training in skills that promote well-being, reduce mood symptoms, and improve emotional responding during pregnancy and postpartum. We are currently using neuroimaging (Magnetic Resonance Imaging or MRI) to examine how a mindfulness-based intervention, MBCT (Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy), for pregnant women who may be at heightened risk for developing depressive symptoms may work to reduce mood symptoms postpartum. 

Learn more about the study on our FAQ page.

Funded by the NIH (1R21AT010292-01) and Medical Research Foundation of Oregon.

To learn more about this study or to see if you may be eligible to participate, call the SCAN Lab at (503) 494 - 4476, or e-mail maternalwellbeing@ohsu.edu.

The Roo Study on Mom and Baby Well-Being (Affiliated Study)

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The Roo Study examines potential effects of a mindfulness intervention, Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), during pregnancy. MBCT connects women with training in skills that promote well-being, reduce mood symptoms, and improve emotional responding during pregnancy and postpartum. We collect data on mental stress and well-being during pregnancy, as well as infant brain development and well-being postpartum. We examine infant brain development with an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging). This data will provide important information on mood and stress during pregnancy, and how it relates to infant brain development. 

To learn more about the Roo Study, visit our FAQ page

Funded by the NIMH. 

To learn more about this study or to see if you may be eligible to participate, call the SCAN Lab at (503) 494 - 4476, or e-mail maternalwellbeing@ohsu.edu.

The PENGuIN Study

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The perinatal and postpartum period are periods of increased neuroplasticity. Changes to the structure and function of the brain during this critical period of time are thought to prepare individuals for responding and caring for their infants. For example, increases in reward responding may increase an individual’s connection to their infant. However, multiple pre-pregnancy and perinatal factors may influence how an individual’s brain changes during pregnancy and postpartum. We know little about how pre-pregnancy factors and postpartum experiences may impact changes in the structure and function of the brain over this extended period.

This study is part of a NIDA Center of Excellence with the University of Oregon. Our study within this Center is focused on examining cognitive and emotional processes in individuals from pregnancy through the first year postpartum and how these processes may be different in individuals who are in treatment for opioid use. Additionally, we want to understand how cognitive and emotional changes during the perinatal and postpartum periods are related to interactions between a parent and their infant. As part of the Center, we are engaged in an array of synergistic research with the goal of informing and implementing parenting interventions.

Learn more about the study on our FAQ page and the center here

Funded by NIDA

The DISCO Study (Affiliated Study)

Defining the Impact of Stress on Correctional Officers (DISCO)

Correctional officers (CO’s) have high levels of chronic which negatively influence their mental well-being, physical health and job performance. No neuroimaging studies to date have used fMRI to examine the impact of stress on CO’s. Applying fMRI imaging to higher stress and lower stress CO’s will provide insight into how cognitive functions important to the CO’s job may be adversely impacted by chronic stress. Furthermore, no prior studies have related biomarkers to fMRI findings among law enforcement officers or CO’s. By comparing different biomarkers against perceived stress measures and fMRI changes, we will build the first allostatic or stress index for CO’s. This index could be used to easily identify those at highest stress levels for targeted interventions and/or index effects of worksite-wide programs to reduce or mitigate chronic stress among CO’s. In addition to providing an understanding of the neurocognitive effects of stress using fMRI, we will relate and prioritize the work-related causes of stress and its economic consequences among CO’s. We hope that our work identifying the sources and effects of stress will help us with the long-term goal of developing strategies to reduce stress and its impact and improve the health of those that work in corrections.

This study is funded by the NIJ. 

Completed Studies

Teen Stress Study

Stress during childhood and adolescence can impact brain development, at times leading to difficulties with regulation of emotions and behaviors, effective coping, thinking, memory, and learning. We also know that it increases risk for developing clinical disorders. These difficulties may in turn influence an individual's ability to perform well at school, at work, and in social situations.

The goal of this project is to examine how stressful life experiences impact brain development in adolescents. We collect this information through interviewing parents and teens, as well as having teens complete cognitive and emotional tasks. The results of this project can help us understand how teens think and feel at different ages and how stress may affect their thinking and feelings. 

Funded by the NIH K23 MH105678, KL2 TR000152, Medical Research Foundation, and Tartar Foundation (pilot funds).

This study is closed to enrollment.