Skip Navigation

Advancing Brain and Behavioral Health

Brain & Behavioral Health

The number of people suffering from depression and anxiety is increasing. The incidence of stroke and Alzheimer's disease is also on the rise, and early evidence suggests a link between COVID-19 and neurological complications.

For all these reasons and more, the need for more effective, accessible treatments and therapies for neurological diseases and behavioral disorders is becoming increasingly urgent. 

For years, UTHealth has put time, resources, and our best and brightest minds to work in this space: pursuing discovery, clinical, and translational research and offering patients access to the latest treatments and therapies. It's time to build on the progress we've made—for the benefit of our community and for patients everywhere.

Your support of Many Faces. One Mission. will help us become the region’s leading center for brain and behavioral health, dedicated to discovering better treatments for chronic and acute neurological conditions and making mental health care accessible to all.

Our Top Priorities

  • Little Feet Making Big Strides

    Separated by the glass barrier of the neonatal incubator, Aisha Atkinson watched over her newborn son, Aries, longing to hold him, to touch him, to love him. Entangled by tubes and wires, he fought for his life while an orchestra of machines whirred in the background. 

    “You’re going hear a lot of difficult things, baby, but just keep fighting so you can make it home to us,” Aisha recalls telling him.

    Born at just 23 weeks gestation, Aries was small enough to fit into the palm of a hand. During birth, he suffered two massive brain bleeds, leading to the development of hydrocephalus, a dangerous buildup of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain. The damage to his brain also caused him to develop cerebral palsy.

    Manish N. Shah, MD, a pediatric neurosurgeon at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth, stepped in to perform life-saving surgeries to drain the buildup of cerebrospinal fluid in the newborn’s brain and place him on the path to a healthy childhood.

    Shah is one of the Many Faces of UTHealth who are helping the littlest children live healthy, happy lives.

    Read more about how Aries continues to beat the odds and teach others the true meaning of resilience.

    Aries and Aisha
  • Deep Space and Beyond

    Together, Sunil Sheth, MD, and Luca Giancardo, PhD, are using the power of data science, machine learning, and artificial intelligence to speed up the diagnosis and treatment of stroke in space and any place that lacks immediate access to brain imaging equipment. 

    They recently helped create an algorithm that identifies large vessel occlusions: a specific type of ischemic stroke that blocks blood flow in one of the main arteries in the brain. Using a dye injected into the body and CT imaging, their algorithm can determine within a minute if a patient is suffering from a large vessel occlusion—and also notify the patient’s health care team. 

    Giancardo and Sheth are among the Many Faces of UTHealth using data science to transform health care.

    Read more about how Giancardo and Sheth could help save lives in space and throughout our communities.

    Giancardo and Sheth
  • Seeing the Light

    In addition to the significant physical challenges stroke survivors must overcome, many also grapple with a less visible complication: post-stroke anxiety.

    One-third of stroke patients experience this, but significant gaps exist when it comes to diagnosing and managing the psychological effects of suffering a stroke. That’s why Jennifer E. S. Beauchamp, PhD, RN, and researchers at UTHealth Institute for Stroke and Cerebrovascular Disease are designing and implementing studies to understand and develop treatments for the mental health of stroke patients.

    “While we’ve known that post-stroke anxiety is common and disabling, there was not a lot of research on factors linked to anxiety,” Beauchamp says. “Our study delved deeper into a cohort of racially and ethnically diverse stroke patients, shedding light on those factors to enable earlier detection and personalized intervention.”

    Beauchamp is one of the Many Faces of UTHealth advancing brain and behavioral health.

    Read about how Beauchamp's work is changing outcomes for stroke survivors.

    Jennifer Beauchamp