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Transforming the understanding
and treatment of mental illnesses.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a common, chronic, and long-lasting disorder characterized by uncontrollable, reoccurring thoughts (obsessions) and/or behaviors (compulsions) that people feel the urge to repeat over and over. Symptoms can fluctuate over time, and people with OCD may try to help themselves by avoiding situations that trigger their obsessions. OCD is a common disorder that affects adults, adolescents, and children, and most people with the disorder are diagnosed by early adulthood. Learn more about obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

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Featured Studies

Featured studies include only those currently recruiting participants. Studies with the most recent start date appear first.

Multimodal Assessment of Cannabinoid Target Engagement in Adults With Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Study Type: Interventional
Start Date: March 01, 2022
Location: New York, New York, United States
Eligibility: Ages 21-55, Does Not Accept Healthy Volunteers

The purpose of this research study is to test how a medication called nabilone (Cesamet) affects neurocognitive processes involved in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), including threat response, processing of fear signals, and habitual behavior. OCD is a disabling illness that affects around 2% of the population and involves recurrent intrusive thoughts (obsessions) and repetitive behaviors (compulsions) that lead to distress and/or impaired functioning. Nabilone is a synthetic form of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC, the primary psychoactive component of the cannabis plant). It acts on the brain's endocannabinoid system, which has been hypothesized to play a role in OCD symptoms. Nabilone is approved by the FDA for the treatment of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. It is not FDA-approved for treating OCD. In this study, 60 adults with OCD will receive a single dose of either nabilone or placebo. Participants will then complete a series of assessments including neuroimaging, psychophysiology (e.g., skin conductance recording), computerized behavioral tasks, and self-report measures. The information gained from this study could contribute to the development of new treatments for people with OCD and related disorders.

Connectomic Deep Brain Stimulation for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Study Type: Interventional
Start Date: August 13, 2021
Location: New York, New York, United States
Eligibility: Ages 18 and Older, Does Not Accept Healthy Volunteers

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is an effective treatment for people suffering from severe obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) whose symptoms have failed to improve after years and multiple methods of intervention. An effective DBS target for OCD is the anterior limb of the internal capsule (ALIC) brain region. On average 60% of all OCD patients have a clinically significant response to ALIC DBS. However, ALIC DBS may become even more effective with the ability to predict which specific ALIC connections in the brain need to be stimulated for each individual OCD patient. This study therefore investigates personalized stimulation to the ALIC that allows for precise modulation of brain circuits associated with individual OCD symptoms. The study aims to specify the ideal anatomical target for ALIC DBS for maximum therapeutic benefit in each patient.

Increasing Treatment Efficacy Using SMART Methods for Personalizing Care

Study Type: Interventional
Start Date: June 22, 2021
Location: Lexington, Kentucky, United States
Eligibility: Ages 18 and Older, Accepts Healthy Volunteers

The proposed study will determine the feasibility, tolerability, and acceptability of a study that tests: 1) personalized treatment delivery (i.e., module sequencing and treatment discontinuation timing) aimed at increasing the efficiency of care, and 2) the research protocol designed to evaluate the effects of this personalized care. A sample of 60 participants with heterogeneous anxiety disorders (and comorbid conditions, including depression) will be enrolled in a pilot sequential multiple assignment randomized trial (SMART). Patients will be randomly assigned to one of three sequencing conditions: transdiagnostic treatment administered in its standard module order, module sequences that prioritize capitalizing on relative strengths, and module sequences that prioritize compensating for relative weaknesses. Next, after 6 sessions, participants will be randomly assigned to either continue or discontinue treatment to evaluate post-treatment change at varying levels of target engagement. This proposal will enable us to 1) test the feasibility, acceptability, and tolerability of the research protocol, treatment sequencing conditions, and early treatment discontinuation, 2) determine whether a preliminary signal that capitalization or compensation module sequencing improves treatment efficiency exists, and 3) explore preliminary associations between core process engagement at treatment discontinuation and later symptom improvement. The proposed study, and the subsequent research it will support, will inform evidence-based decision rules to make existing treatments more efficient, ultimately reducing patient costs and increasing the mental health service system's capacity to address the needs of more individuals.

Improving Attentional and Cognitive Control in the Psychological Treatment of Intrusive Thoughts

Study Type: Interventional
Start Date: April 30, 2021
Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Eligibility: Ages 18-60, Does Not Accept Healthy Volunteers

The investigators are conducting this study to learn more about the cognitive and attentional processes among individuals with three types of repetitive negative thinking (RNT): mental rituals (as seen in obsessive compulsive disorder, OCD), worries (as seen in generalized anxiety disorder, GAD), and ruminations (as seen in major depressive disorder, MDD). Specifically, the investigators are studying whether psychological treatment can help people with RNT who have trouble stopping unwanted thoughts and shifting their attention.

Theta Burst Stimulation Plus Habit Override Training for Compulsive Behaviors

Study Type: Interventional
Start Date: December 28, 2020
Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
Eligibility: Ages 18-60, Does Not Accept Healthy Volunteers

This project seeks to identify causal neural mechanisms underlying unwanted, repetitive behaviors (compulsions). Using non-invasive brain stimulation coupled with practice in a computer task, we will modulate activity in a target brain region and measure effects on compulsive behaviors and related measures. This work could ultimately lead to the ability to treat compulsions more effectively by targeting the regions of the brain that can help or hinder attempts to overcome compulsions.

Brain Network Changes Accompanying and Predicting Responses to Pharmacotherapy in OCD

Study Type: Interventional
Start Date: October 15, 2019
Location: New Haven, Connecticut, United States
Eligibility: Ages 18-65, Accepts Healthy Volunteers

The proposed randomized, double-blind research study will use functional magnetic resonance neuroimaging using state-of-the-art HCP acquisition protocols and analytic pipelines, to identify predictors and correlates of response to an accepted first-line pharmacological treatment for obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Overlapping Neural Circuits in Pediatric OCD

Study Type: Interventional
Start Date: October 31, 2014
Location: New York, New York, United States
Eligibility: Ages 5-17, Accepts Healthy Volunteers

The purpose of this study is to examine the brain functioning of children and adolescent with OCD before and after treatment with Exposure and Response Prevention (EXRP) therapy.

Physiological Brain Atlas Development

Study Type: Observational
Start Date: August 31, 2006
Location: Nashville, Tennessee, United States
Eligibility: Ages 6-90, Does Not Accept Healthy Volunteers

The NIH grant has funded the development of a physiological brain atlas registry that will allow us to significantly improve the data collectioin and use of physiological data into a normalized brain volume. This initially was used to improve DBS implants for Parkinson's Disease, Dystonia, Essential Tremor, and OCD, but now includes data acquired during all stereotactic brain procedures.