Due to the availability of state-of-the-art MR technology with its newly installed 1.5T Philips MR scanner at the Department of Radiological Technology, Chiang Mai University, Thailand and with the purposes of advancing and expanding local expertise in MR technology this proposal has been made possible. The lack of local knowledge on MRI and MRS methods in clinical research setting is proving to be a major barrier for the current local interest in clinical research in HIV/AIDS and drug abuse.
The first aim of this proposal is to build local expertise in MR technology suitable for long term clinical research. Training and mentoring of local MR physicists, healthcare professionals and technicians in Northern Thailand will be enhanced and support provided for the continued development of academic radiology in this resource limited setting. The clinical research topics chosen in this proposal take advantage of the current active clinical research in epidemiological investigations in HIV/AIDS and drug abuse at the RIHES unit of Chiang Mai University. It lacks expertise in neurobiology of the effect of HIV infection and drug abuse on the central nervous system (CNS). This proposal will fill that gap. Normative brain MRI and MRS data will be collected along with a small number of subjects who are HIV infected, methamphetamine abusers, and subjects with co- morbidities. These data will serve as preliminary data to develop hypothesis in the dysfunction of CNS for subsequence R01 grant application.
The interaction of methamphetamine, HIV virus and the central nervous system are not well understood and less studied. The extent and gravity of these co-morbidities among young adults in Northern Thailand has increase the local demand for reliable means to reduce the epidemic. This proposal involves clinical research capacity building specialized in neurobiology to study brain injury from HIV infection and drug abuse in northern Thailand. Results from this project may lead to new approaches in the effort to reduce HIV infection and drug abuse worldwide.