A group led by Professor Peter Silburn, together with Professor Terry Coyne and Professor Pankaj Sah, as well as neuropsychiatrist Dr Philip Mosley is conducting a clinical trial into the use of DBS to alleviate OCD symptoms and improve quality of life. Data from the trial will add to a growing body of work suggesting that DBS of the nucleus accumbens can benefit people with treatment-resistant OCD.

In addition, the researchers will record electrical activity from the nucleus accumbens under different situations, such as when symptoms are triggered, or when patients are anticipating a reward (the nucleus accumbens is a central part of the brain’s reward circuitry). These experiments will be run longitudinally, with the hope of revealing how chronic DBS alters the brain’s OCD circuits, and whether this correlates with symptom improvement.

Ultimately, the trial aims to show that deep brain stimulation is an effective treatment for OCD, while at the same time helping us better understand how OCD manifests itself in the brain.

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