Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Psychiatry & Neurosciences-Behaviorial Biology Branch
The Department of Behavioral Biology research team executes in-laboratory research to determine the effects of chronic insufficient sleep on neurobehavioral resilience and efficacy of both pharmacological agents and nonpharmacological tools for maintaining neurobehavioral performance (cognitive performance, emotional regulation, alertness, vigilance) in human volunteers during periods of chronic, insufficient sleep (e.g., days/weeks with less than 7-8 hours sleep/24 hours) and total sleep deprivation. Such strategies include but are not limited to stimulants, sleep inducers, sleep hygiene, sleep banking, and sleep recovery. Our unique mission involves identifying all potential contraindications/limitations of these strategies under the field conditions in which our Warfighters operate.
We have evaluated stimulants including caffeine (current gold standard), modafinil, and dextroamphetamine; putative cognitive enhancers including nicotine and CX717; sleep-inducing agents including triazolam and zolpidem (as well as synthetic melatonin), sleep banking strategies, and covariates ranging from genetic polymorphisms to personality factors and so-called "resilience" factors (broadly construed).
Currently, we are most interested in (1) exploring the utility of strategies for increasing the minute-by-minute recuperative value of sleep and thereby potentially reducing the amount of time required for sleep recovery and (2) determining covariates that account for (and potentially explain) the known substantial inter-individual differences in responsivity to insufficient sleep.
Infrastructure consists of completely self-contained residential sleep facility for simultaneous assessment of up to 8 volunteers, world-class research staff (research manager, research assistants, CCRC RN, medical oversight), and biochemistry laboratory.
Individiuals interested in Warfighter-oriented research mission are encouraged to apply.
Capaldi V, et al: Insomnia in the Military: Effectiveness and Application of Cognitive and Pharmacologic Therapy. Current Psychiatry Reports 17(10): 2015
Capaldi V, Zembrzuska H: Thrust Into the Breech: Psychiatry in a Combat Zone Within 1 Year of Residency Completion. Academic Psychiatry 38(6): 2014
Capaldi V, et al: The clinical integrative puzzle for teaching and assessing clinical reasoning: preliminary feasibility, reliability, and validity evidence. Military Medicine 180: 2015