Current Non-Treatment Studies

Cerebral glutamate levels in OCD: Pathophysiology and predictors of response

You might qualify if you meet the following criteria:

1. Age 18 - 70 years old
2. No current drug abuse

Screening visit 
A single MRS scan

Up to $100 provided for time

HIC 0803003626

Currently recruiting participants

A number of studies using different techniques have suggested that the neurotransmitter glutamate is present at excessive levels in at least some patients with OCD. This idea has motivated our use of glutamate-modulating drugs in OCD who have not responded to standard therapies. However, the details of how glutamate is out of balance remains unclear. Likewise, it is unclear whether glutamate dysregulation contributes to all forms of OCD or only to some subtypes. Better understanding this issue, may, in the future, help us select which therapies are most likely to work for individual patients.

We use an imaging method, magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS), that allows us to measure the levels of glutamate and related molecules in the brain. This is done in a brain scanner very similar to that used for the MRI imaging that is standard in all hospitals. By better understanding how and where glutamate is disrupted in OCD, we hope to expand our knowledge of the biological changes that contribute to the disorder and how to develop new medication strategies to address them.

Our MRS investigations are done in collaboration with Graeme Mason, Ph.D., at the Yale Magnetic Resonance Research Center. These studies are supported by grants from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and from the National Institutes of Health, through a YCCI scholar award from the Yale Center for Clinical Investigation.


Brain Activation in OCD: A novel functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study

You might qualify if you meet the following criteria:

1. Age 18 - 70 years old.
2. No current drug abuse

Screening visit 
+
A single fMRI scan

Up to $140 provided for time

HIC 0803003626

Update (9/26/2014) - This study is not currently recruiting participants

People with OCD respond to many things differently than people without the disorder. For example, people with OCD may be more anxious overall or may respond more to particular stimuli (such as dirt or unevenness). We are investigating the brain mechanisms underlying some of these effects using a novel functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scan sequence never before utilized in OCD. This fMRI investigation is being done in collaboration with Alan Anticevic, PhD.



Exploring daily life of obsessive compulsive disorder in adults: A smartphone study

You may be eligible if you meet the following criteria

1. Age 18 - 70 years old
2. Diagnosed with OCD
3. No current drug abuse

Two clinic visits
Daily symptom ratings for one week.

Up to $138 provided for time

HIC 1303011702

Recruitment closed. Currently in data analysis phase. 

Standard assessment methods for OCD involve clinicians asking a person about their OCD symptoms over a prior period of interest, such as a week, month, or year. However, less is known about how people report their experiences and symptoms of OCD in the moment, throughout the day, as they are experienced. Using a smartphone device, participants will offer ratings of their OCD symptoms, their mood, and their context (i.e., where they are, who they are with, et cetera...) throughout the day over a period of one week. Through this study, we aim to learn more about the daily experiences of obsessive-compulsive disorder in order to better understand the disorder.




Functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS) for OCD

You might qualify if you meet the following criteria:

1. Age 18 - 70 years old
2. No current drug abuse

Screening visit 
+
A single fNIRS Session

Up to $40 provided for time

HIC 0803003626

Currently recruiting participants

The purpose of this research is to improve our understanding of how the brain of a person with OCD functions when performing various computer tasks. Functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) is a noninvasive method that utilizes infrared light to measure blood volume and oxygenation. Measurements are performed by placing on a headband on the forehead. While wearing this headband, you will be asked to sit in front of a screen, view some images, follow some task-related instructions and make simple responses (e.g., press a button). Your session will last up to an hour, including preparation, filling out questionnaires, following task-related instructions, and providing your response. During the task, there will also be a non-invasive acquisition device attached to the participant’s fingers for measuring heart rate and galvanic skin response.




Exploring the genetics of OCD

HIC 0803003626

It is clear that the risk for developing OCD depends in part on our genes; but the specific genes that contribute to OCD, and how they do so, are not well understood. Patients who we see in our clinic have the opportunity to give blood for genetic analysis. By comparing the specific genes of patients with OCD with other patients or with individuals with no psychiatric diagnosis, we hope to better understand the various complicated factors that contribute to the genetics of the illness.