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Lupus Brain

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a severe, chronic autoimmune disorder that affects multiple organ systems and it is common for patients with SLE to also have other symptoms, including depression, chronic pain, and cognitive impairment (i.e., "brain fog"). Previous research shows that reducing these may lead to better quality of life for patients but current treatments for SLE are inadequate and the development of new therapies has been slow. Targeted stimulation modalities, such as non-invasive transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS), have been shown to directly affect brain activity and improve depression, chronic pain, and cognitive impairment in patients that do not have SLE. The purpose of this clinical trial is to investigate the effects of tACS on patients diagnosed with SLE to see if they would also see a similar improvement in depression, chronic pain, and cognitive impairment.


Auto Immune Diseases, Brain/Head, Lupus, Mental Health, Pain





18 - 65 years


Study Population

Males and non-pregnant females aged 18-65 with a diagnosis of lupus, free of benzodiazepines and anticonvulsant medications, depression.


Saira Sheikh
Clinical Assistant Professor
Medicine-UNCP A Rheumatology

For questions, contact:

Emily McCormick
(919) 843-8890

Recruitment Period End

July 31, 2021


Primary Location
Medical School Wing C on UNC Campus next to the UNC Neuroscience Hospital
101 Manning Dr, Chapel Hill, NC 27514, USA

Study Qualifications

Gender Any

Age Range 18 - 65 years

Participant qualification(s) Age 18-65; Diagnosis of SLE; Feeling depressed

Not eligible if: Pregnant or nursing; Taking benzodiazepines and anti-epileptic medications; Have had cancer in the past 5 years; Have a history of blood clotting disorders, severe traumatic brain injury (TBI), brain surgery or devices/implants, seizures, dementia, stroke, Parkinson's, multiple sclerosis, or cerebral aneurysm.

Number of Visits

    » 9 to 11 In person visit(s)

    1 Screening, 5 Stimulation, 1 MRI, 2 follow-ups, may have 2 additional blood draw visits

    » 1 Remote visit(s)

    1 survey follow-up

Participation Period

1 month


$345 total by reloadable Visa gift card (9 installments)

By clicking I am interested, your contact information will be sent to the researcher/study coordinator for this study. The coordinator will respond by email with additional information on how to proceed.