Interview with Dr. Kamran Fallahpour – Director, Brain Resource Center
Dr. Kamran Fallahpour and his team at the Brain Resource Center perform research in the field of Applied Neuroscience. Their approach is that effective treatments are delivered to the right person at the right time to maximize safety and efficacy. Dr. Fallahpour, a Clinical Psychologist and Director at the Brain Resource Center in New York has years of experience in assessment and treatment of various neuropsychological and psychological conditions. He is currently involved in developing the largest database of brain, cognitive, and genomic data across mental disorders. In addition, he participates in many international clinical trials that aim to identify biomarkers in ADHD and depression. The Brain Resource Center promotes brain health through tailored treatment options and personalized interventions that result in repaired or even enhanced brain functionality.
I recently had the chance to catch up with Dr. Fallahpour and he was gracious enough to discuss aspects of his research and his involvement with ‘The Cure is Now’. Enjoy the interview!
Q – Describe your primary area of research.
KF: Our primary area of research is Applied Neuroscience. Our research interest and direction can be summarized in the following sentence:
“What can we learn from advances in neuroscience research that can apply to patients today?”
Recent advances in neuroscience has allowed us to gain great insights about brain functions, how mood related and cognitive disturbances have roots in dysfunctions and imbalances in various areas of the brain and how they relate to symptomology of various disorders. This has allowed us to be able to identify new ways to retrain and stimulate the brain, in order to bring more efficient functioning, mood regulation, improved cognitive functions, and in short, improving brain health.
For instance, our research on biomarkers in depression and ADHD is going to change the trial and error approach for prescribing medication to a more objective and personalized method of identifying what treatment options (for instance, what class of medication) have the highest likelihood of being effective for a particular patient. This approach is personalized medicine and is based on the patient’s unique brain and cognitive profile that identifies which treatment approach has the highest potential for improvement in symptoms and the least chance for experiencing side effects.
Moreover, in addition to a more objective and targeted pharmacological approach, other complimentary or alternative methods are devised to reduce reliance on medication and improve cognitive and affective symptoms through teaching the nervous system what we call “Self Regulation.” This means that the brain learns how to regulate itself more efficiently through stimulation and training without the increasing need to add outside agents such as pharmaceuticals. At least to some extent, this is already a reality today and although there is still a lot of need for further research to apply this model to various disorders, many patients are benefiting from the model through research that has already been done. Therefore, our main interest in research remains to be in this area of neuromodulation and we try to learn everyday from mapping the brain and cognitive functions and applying new tools and insights in assessment and treatment techniques.
Q- What has been (1 or a few) major limiting factors in your field of research in general?
KF: The most limiting factor in our field of research remains to be the fact that the type of leading edge research that we are interested in remains to be underfunded. The other limiting factor is the fragmentation of specializations. With more integration and cross-fertilization between various scientific disciplines, we can take a huge leap.
Q- What do you hope your research will accomplish within the next 5 – 10 years?
KF: We hope to be able to further advance the knowledge in the area of neuroscience that has the potential for immediate application to help patients in need of improved brain health. This applies to areas such as Depression, Brain Injury, Alzheimer’s disease, and Anxiety disorders including PTSD and a number of related mood and cognitive disorders.
Q- You have joined the advisory board at ‘The Cure is Now’; a cutting edge non-profit group dedicated to advancing and expediting medical research. Tell me about ‘The Cure is Now’ and how you feel your own work can be enhanced and what you feel the group can make possible in general?
KF: It seems to me that ‘The Cure is Now” can fill a huge gap in helping scientists who have the ambition to do leading cutting edge research that will otherwise have to be delayed for years if not decades. I am not talking about research that has academic appeal only. I am talking about research and developments in the field of neuroscience and medical research that can lead to treatment applications for huge populations who are in need of such developments today. Therefore, we believe that “The Cure is Now” may be the answer!
Q- Anything else you would like to tell our readers?
KF: If readers are interested to learn more about our research or brain related projects, they can visit our website at www.brainresourcecenter.com.
We hope you enjoyed reading about Dr. Fallahpour’s work at the Brain Resource Center. Special thanks to Dr. Fallahpour and to my colleague Priya Menon for contributing to this blog.