Neuroimaging biomarkers of treatment response to cognitive-behavioural therapy for chronic insomnia

Principle Investigator(s)

  • Thien Thanh Dang-Vu, M.D. Ph. D., Concordia University.
  • Jean-Philippe Gouin, Ph. D., Concordia University.

Affiliation (Lab/Department)

Stress, Health, & Interpersonal Relationships Laboratory / Psychology Department


More than 10% of Canadians currently suffer from insomnia. Insomnia has a significant impact on physical and mental health, contributes to rising medical costs, limits workplace productivity, and alters social well-being.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Insomnia (CBTi) is the gold standard for insomnia treatment, and can be administered without medication or intrusive medical equipment. At Concordia University, we use brain imaging technology and magnetic resonance imaging in order to non-invasively measure brain activity during sleep as well as during cognitive tasks. Our goal is to investigate how the brain changes in response to 8 weeks of individual CBTi therapy, so that we can improve treatment for individuals suffering from insomnia.

Participation in this study will include:

  • A free individual therapy program comprising 8 sessions over 3 months
  • Two MRI sessions
  • Three overnight sleep recordings in our sleep lab
  • Completion of cognitive tests after sleep
  • Two blood draws

Inclusion Criteria

  • Problems falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking up earlier than desired
  • Willingness to refrain from use of sleeping aid medications for the duration of the study
  • Be between 25 and 65 years old

Exclusion Criteria

  • Currently working overnight shifts or recent travel across several time-zones
  • Diagnosis of other sleep disorders (such as sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, or REM sleep behavior disorder)
  • Currently pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Diagnosed with chronic illness, neurological disorder, or mental health disorder.
  • Using medication that affects sleep
  • Chronic illness neurological disorder or mental health disorder
  • History of brain hemorrhage, brain tumor or brain surgery
  • Regular alcohol or substance use
  • Any contraindication to MRI


8 weeks of cognitive behavioural group therapy for free, and up to $360 in compensation

Contact Information; 514-848-2424 ext. 2284

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