Our Research

Health and Wellness

The Stanford Health and Wellness Study is a three-year longitudinal, multi-method research evaluation of a district-wide yoga- and mindfulness-based curriculum currently being implemented in a K-8th grade school district, the Ravenswood City School District in East Palo Alto, California. The purpose of the research is to measure the impact of the curriculum on students’ social, emotional, and cognitive functioning and academic performance over time by evaluating progress at three time points (baseline, one-year follow-up, and 18-month follow-up).

Investigators and Partners

The Health and Wellness Study is a partnership between Pure Edge Inc., Ravenswood City School District, Alum Rock Unified School District, Orchard School District, and Stanford University.

Stanford University research teams 

Participating Stanford University research teams include the Early Life Stress and Resilience Program (Dr. Victor Carrion, PI), the Stanford Cognitive & Systems Neuroscience Lab (Dr. Vinod Menon, PI), the Stanford Sleep Lab (Dr. Ruth O’Hara, PI).

Many thanks to our partners!

Cue-Centered Therapy Study

Functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS)

A Randomized Controlled Trial of Cue-Centered Treatment (CCT), Trauma-Focused Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), and Treatment as Usual (TAU)

This is a three year study that will examine three treatment conditions for traumatized youth: CCT, TF-CBT, and TAU which is comprised of flexible integrated services offered at Stanford Youth Solutions, a community mental health agency in Sacramento. The purpose of the study is to determine what child characteristics predict better treatment outcomes, which phases of treatment are most effective, and to identify neuro-markers that may be predictors of better outcomes. Behavioral assessments along with neuroimaging (functional-near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRs)are being conducted at four time points: pre-, mid-, and post-treatment and at three month follow-up. fNIRS examines dynamic hemoglobin concentration as a reflection of subcortical brain activity. This study is exploring the clinical potential of using a pre-treatment fNIRS measurement to predict treatment outcomes in youth with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) or posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) compared to healthy controls (HC). NIRS is far less invasive and expensive than fMRI, and its clinical potential has yet to be fully explored.

Investigators and Partners

This study is collaboration between Stanford Youth Solutions and Stanford University. The research team comprises the Stanford Early Life Stress and Resilience Program (Dr. Victor Carrion, PI, Dr. Flint Espil, Co-PI, and Dr. Hilit Kletter, CCT consultant), Center for Interdisciplinary Brain Sciences Research (Allan Reiss, neuroimaging consultant), Drexel University (Judith Cohen, TF-CBT consultant), and Iowa State University (Carl Weems, statistical consultant).

If you have any questions about Stanford Youth Solutions  or would like to be contacted regarding involvement in our study, please contact Flint Espil, PhD at espil@stanford.edu

Neural Correlates of Behavior Therapy for Tic Disorders

This study is an attempt to examine potential predictors of outcomes among youth (ages 12-17) receiving behavior therapy for tic disorders. Tic Disorders, including Tourette’s Disorder, occur in 1 out of every 1000 youth, and are considered lifelong disorders. For many individuals, these tics do not cause any problems or distress, but for others they may be severe enough to warrant intervention. The approach with the most scientific backing to date is the Comprehensive Behavioral Intervention for Tics, or CBIT. This approach is rooted in behavioral therapy principles, and teaches individuals with tics to become more aware of when their tics are occurring and then use tic management strategies.

Although CBIT is effective for the majority of individuals who participate in therapy, there are still many questions surrounding why and how the approach works. The goal of this study is to examine the areas of the brain implicated in ticcing and how activation in these areas might change after receiving CBIT. Results from this study would not only help us better understand potential treatment mechanisms, but would also be an important first step in our goal of understanding the underlying circuitry of tic disorders more generally. 

Beginning in July of 2017, we will begin enrolling youth with tic disorders (n = 12) and, for comparison purposes, youth without any history of tic disorders (n = 12). All participants will complete a series of computerized assessment measures while their brain activity is being measured using Functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS), a noninvasive imaging approach similar to electroencephalogram (EEG). Participants will complete these assessments on two separate occasions, and results will be compared between time points and groups.

Investigators and Partners

This study is made possible through a grant awarded to Dr. Flint Espil (PI) by the American Academy of Neurology, the American Brain Foundation, and the Tourette Association of America. The research team comprises Dr. Espil and other ELSRP staff as well as collaboration with the Center for Interdisciplinary Brain Sciences Research (Dr. Allan Reiss, neuroimaging consultant), and Comparative Medicine (Dr. Joseph Garner, neuroimaging and biostatistics consultant). 

If you have any questions about the Neural Correlates of Behavior Therapy for Tic Disorders, please contact Flint Espil, PhD at espil@stanford.edu

The Spectrum Pilot Grant

The Spectrum Pilot Grant for Population Health Sciences from the Stanford Center for Clinical and Translational Research and Education to support ongoing partnership with One East Palo Alto’s Behavioral Health Advisory Group Ambassador Team (BHAGAT).  BHAGAT provides support and crisis response services to students and families at Ronald McNair Academy in the Ravenswood City School District.  The purpose of this grant is to work with BHAGAT to develop and implement a training and consultation program to facilitate BHAGAT ambassador access to resources from the PracticeWise Managing Adaptive Practice (MAP) approach. Drs. Matlow and Espil will seek to adapt MAP materials to provide resources as appropriate for the support services provided by BHAGAT members.  This collaboration will include efforts to capture and measure the impact of BHAGAT services in the McNair community.  In addition, as part of the current grant and partnership, Drs. Matlow and Espil plan to convene an advisory group of community members and BHAGAT stakeholders to inform service needs and training program development. 

If you have any questions about The Spectrum Pilot Grant, please contact Ryan Matlow, PhD at rmatlow@stanford.edu