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Deep Brain Stimulation for OCD

What is DBS?

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is a neurosurgical procedure in which electrodes are implanted in targeted areas of the brain within the ventral capsule/ventral striatum (VC/VS) region, assisted by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to achieve millimeter accuracy. DBS has been FDA approved for the treatment of treatment-resistant OCD and is being researched at Butler Hospital for the treatment of major depression.

How does DBS Work?

DBS uses two very thin electrodes that are implanted in the brain and connected to a pacemaker-like device that is embedded in the chest. Parameters, such as intensity, frequency, and pulse width are adjusted by a wireless remote control hooked up to the chest. The electrical pulses alter the functioning of brain circuits believed to be involved in obsessions and compulsions.

Effectiveness of DBS for OCD

Stimulation of the ventral capsule/ventral striatum (VC/VS) to treat OCD was proposed and refined beginning in 1998 at research centers in the United States and Europe. The majority of patients who consistently failed to benefit from medications and behavior therapy had milder symptoms and improved daily functioning after DBS. These gains were maintained through continued, long-term stimulation. Because of these promising initial results, potential candidates are now being recruited to participate in a larger scale study across four qualified U.S. centers, including Butler Hospital.

Neuropsychological Comparison Group for DBS

People between 18 and 65 who are diagnosed with severe OCD and who are not interested in DBS may be eligible for a clinical interview and testing that will provide comparison data for assessing the effectiveness of DBS treatment.

For more information, please contact Nicole McLaughlin by email nmclaughlin@butler.org or by phone at (401) 455-6608.

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