Primary Principal InvestigatorBenjamin Greenberg
If you have been diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), you may be interested in participating in Project STIM, a research study exploring how stimulation affects the brain.
Why should I join the study? Although this is not intended as a treatment trial, Project STIM for OCD is focused on the brain mechanism(s) associated with OCD. Results may thereby inform potential OCD treatment options in the future. It is also possible that participants’ OCD-symptoms may improve over the course of the study from the noninvasive brain stimulation procedures. The knowledge gained will provide insight to how transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), a noninvasive brain stimulation device, may be an appropriate therapeutic treatment for OCD patients.
What will happen if I join the study? Through a series of questionnaires and interviews, the research team will determine if the study is a good fit for you. An initial magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) brain scan will be scheduled followed by 10 sessions (each lasting 20 minutes) over one to four weeks (scheduled according to your availability). A second MRI will be scheduled after the completion of 10 sessions of tDCS. There are also three follow-up appointments, one after the completion of the tDCS sessions and then again one month later. During every session throughout the study, the team will monitor OCD-symptoms and any changes that you may be experiencing.
How long will the research last? The study lasts nine to 11 weeks for completion of all procedures. This includes 10 to 20 daily (Monday through Friday) stimulation sessions scheduled on the Butler Hospital campus.
Using technology to change the brain’s functionality in OCD patients
What technology is used for transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS)? Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is a form of mild brain stimulation which is delivered noninvasively. The battery operated device used for tDCS delivers weak electric currents through electrodes placed on your scalp and right cheek. As the instrument sends pulses of energy to isolated regions of the brain, the low intensity current is often described as a tingling or deep itching sensation that sometimes fades over the course of the 20 minute session. Similarly, tDCS for severe depression and schizophrenia has resulted in more improved symptoms. Researchers at Brown University and Butler Hospital have reason to believe that tDCS could also improve the quality of life in those with obsessive-compulsive disorder and potentially inform new treatment options in the future.
Who is eligible? The study is open to 18 to 65 year old individuals who meet the following criteria:
- Ability to speak, read, write and understand English sufficiently to complete study procedures and provide informed consent.
- Have a current diagnosis of clinically significant OCD.
- Taking prescribed medications at stable doses for at least six weeks; or not currently taking any medication.
- If currently participating in ongoing psychotherapy, have completed at least three months of treatment before entering the study.
- Be able to undergo an MRI scan, a procedure which excludes those who are pregnant, claustrophobic, or have a history of metal fragments or metal objects in the body.
Compensation/ReimbursementYou will be compensated up to $265 for your time. Payment for participation is up to $265 for 10, 20 minute sessions based on attendance, plus pre and post treatment MRI scans.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)