Mental Minute: Substance Use and Addiction Research with Dr. Meghan Martz

The latest episode of the Mental Minute features Dr. Meghan Martz, a research professor at the U-M Addiction Center. Dr. Martz, who has a background in social work and developmental psychology, studies factors associated with substance abuse risk.

Lizelle Salazar, MPH, who is celebrating her 5 year anniversary with the Center, joins Will in co-hosting this episode. Lizelle is involved in prevention programming like Peer-to-Peer, a mental health education and awareness initiative with public schools in Washtenaw County. In the first half of the episode, she recognizes Brandon Bond of the UM School of Public Health and Taylor White of the University of North Carolina- Greensboro, as the two outstanding winners for this year’s George Orley Student Mental Health Advocate Award. Both awardees demonstrated excellence in finding ways to combat mental health crises on college campuses.

In the latter half of the episode, Will and Lizelle interview Dr. Martz, who expresses her passion for research and its ability to build the bridge of knowledge informing clinical practice. Dr. Martz uses innovative technology like brain imaging to study the dynamic and cyclical nature of brain activity and behavior in substance use disorders.

“Treatment is not a one-size-fits-all,” says Dr. Martz. She finds optimism in the increasing research on individualized treatment approaches and the use of big data projects with large sample sizes in order to better understand red flags for substance abuse prevention. Working with the Michigan longitudinal study on the history of addiction and neuroimaging assessments, Dr. Martz found that people growing up in households with substance use problems didn’t necessarily end up having substance use problems themselves, contrary to most research. She found that youth with a positive family history of substance abuse showed neural indicators of resilience in the part of the brain related to inhibitory control. She is interested in learning more about cognitive regulation and the ability to have different levels of self-control despite similar levels of reward.

Dr. Martz is currently recruiting participants for her real-time fMRI study on developmental and sex differences in the ability to exert self-control over reward responding. If you are interested in enrolling in this study, or others, visit the U-M health research page.

To listen to the full episode and learn more about The Mental Minute with Michigan Medicine, visit the main Mental Minute page.