Deep Brain Stimulation for OCD Study
Most people who suffer from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) can be helped by two established and highly effective treatments that are often used in combination: cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and medication. Even people with severe OCD usually benefit from these approaches.
Some individuals, however, do not get adequate relief using the above treatments despite the best efforts of themselves, their doctors, and their therapists. People in this group may be eligible to participate in new research examining Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) as a treatment for OCD
The purpose of this investigation is to evaluate the effectiveness of Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) for treating severe, treatment-resistant OCD. The specific DBS targets selected for this study involve the ventral capsule/ventral striatum (VC/VS) region.
Stimulation of the VC/VS to treat OCD was proposed and refined beginning in 1997 at research centers in the United States and Europe. Patients who consistently failed to respond to medications and behavior therapy exhibited reduced symptoms and improved daily functioning as a result of DBS; these gains were maintained through continued, long-term stimulation.
An increasing number of patients improved as researchers obtained more experience with this treatment. Due to initial success, potential candidates are being recruited to participate in a larger scale study currently taking place at the three most qualified U.S. centers: Butler Hospital/Brown University, the Cleveland Clinic, Mass General Hospital and the University of Florida.
Brief Overview of OCD & DBS
A mental illness characterized by unwanted, intrusive thoughts or impulses (obsessions) that trigger repetitive behaviors (compulsions) which attempt to alleviate induced anxiety. OCD can cause significant distress and impairment that prevent a person from being able to function normally.
» More about OCD
Deep Brain Stimulation
Neurosurgical procedure where two thin electrodes, just over one millimeter in diameter, are precisely inserted into targeted areas deep within the brain. Corresponding pacemaker-like devices implanted beneath the skin in the chest send programmable, electrical signals to these electrodes (via connecting wires also placed under the skin).
This electrical stimulus alters brain activity in the vicinity of the electrodes and also affects neural circuits connected to that region. DBS is reversible and adaptable, which means that stimulation can be turned off or adjusted as necessary to address side effects or a lack of response.
Since the 1980s, over 35,000 patients with Parkinson’s disease have undergone this procedure. Despite such extensive implementation, how DBS works is still not completely understood. It is evident, however, that Deep Brain Stimulation is an effective option for certain neurological diseases and has the potential to improve the condition of individuals suffering from intractable OCD.
» More about DBS and neurosurgery
Information on this website is provided for information only and should not be used for diagnosis or as medical advice. By using this site, you agree that Butler Hospital and Brown Medical School are not responsible for any problems resulting from its use by anyone. While we try to keep the content updated and accurate, we make no claims that it is a comprehensive, current, or correct representation of understanding or knowledge at any given time. We strongly urge people with severe OCD, their families, and others involved to discuss neurosurgical treatment options with their doctors and therapists.
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