Individuals with intellectual disabilities (ID) experience behavioral symptoms and mental health conditions at considerably higher rates than the general population. Examples include problematic behavioral symptoms (such as depressive symptoms, aggressive behaviors, or suicidal ideations) or mental health conditions (such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), bipolar disorder, or psychotic disorders), all of which can be extremely challenging to assess and manage in individuals with ID due to the language, cognitive, and sensory impairments that often impede traditional strategies for evaluation and treatment.
In this context, many children and adults with ID are given behavioral or mental health diagnoses in the absence of assessment tools appropriate to ID populations. Individuals with ID are then often prescribed psychotropic medications, despite the lack of empirical evidence regarding the safety and efficacy of these drugs in ID populations. Even more problematic is the common use of multiple psychotropic medications in individuals with ID, without an adequate understanding of their potential interactions and associated safety risks. Furthermore, very little is known about how pharmacogenomic factors may impact the safety, efficacy, or dosing of psychotropic medications among individuals with ID.
Applications submitted to this FOA must have a focus on individuals with ID. Of particular interest are applications that include individuals with idiopathic ID. Studies can include pediatric, adolescent, and/or adult ID populations. Clinical studies involving medication(s), should, whenever possible, incorporate multimodal treatment approaches to maximize the success of any medication in the context of other behavioral treatment(s) and/or support system(s). This FOA is not intended for applications that focus on behavioral interventions alone.
Projects proposed under this FOA should represent major advances in the field, as reflected by one or more of the following features:
- The behavioral symptoms/mental health conditions being targeted are clinically meaningful; i.e., that they are a hinderance to achieving optimal functioning/quality of life for individuals with ID.
- The assessment tools/biomarkers being studied are appropriate and scalable for wide use in non-specialty settings, with adequate validity, reliability, sensibility, and specificity for the outcome of interest.
- The proposed project involves a major advance in assessment, intervention, or dissemination and implementation.
- The medication(s) being studied are commonly used in ID populations or have been approved for use for the behavioral symptom or mental health condition being treated in another, non-ID population.
- The findings have potential generalizability to a broad ID population.
Applications should address one or more of the following areas:
(1) Assessment tools to identify, diagnose and/or measure behavioral symptoms or mental health conditions in individuals with ID. Potential projects in this area may include, but are not limited to:
- Development of new tools or adaptation of existing tools that assess behavioral symptoms (such as depressive symptoms, aggressive behaviors, or suicidal ideations) or mental health conditions (such as ADHD, bipolar disorder, or psychotic disorders) that identify and account for level of functioning in individuals with ID.
- Identification and validation of biomarkers that can eventually be used in clinical trials of treatments for behavioral symptoms or mental health conditions in individuals with ID.
Of interest are applications for assessment tools and biomarkers that can be used in individuals who are nonverbal and/or those with severe cognitive impairments.
(2) Understanding the pharmacokinetics, safety and efficacy of psychotropic medications in individuals with ID. Potential projects in this area may include, but are not limited to:
- Studies of the safety and efficacy of commonly-used psychotropic medications in treating specific behavioral symptoms or mental health conditions in individuals with ID.
- Studies to delineate variability in pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of psychotropic medications in individuals with ID.
- Studies that use pharmacogenomic strategies to select the safest and most efficacious psychotropic medications for use in individuals with ID, which can then be clinically validated.
Deadlines: standard dates apply (letters of intent due 30 days prior to deadline)
Filed Under: Funding Opportunities