Calling for research study participants

Treatment trials for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

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Transcranial Alternating Current Stimulation (tACS) is a novel and safe non-invasive brain stimulation technique that delivers a weak electrical current through the brain. The main advantage of tACS is its ability to individualise the treatment by delivering the current at a specifically targeted frequency related to the brain electrical activity of each patient. During tACS, you will be comfortably seated in a chair and two electrodes secured to a cap will be placed on your head. In this study, tACS treatment will be self-administered using a handheld device following training by the researcher.

What is tACS?

The Epworth Centre for Innovation in Mental Health (ECIMH) is conducting two clinical trials investigating the effects of novel brain stimulation techniques as treatments for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). These techniques include Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) and Transcranial Alternating Current Stimulation (tACS). The TMS trial will deliver Theta Burst Stimulation (TBS) to different brain areas to determine which is the most effective. The tACS trial is assessing the efficacy of a handheld device that can deliver individualised treatment to the participant at their own home.  

Epworth Centre for Innovation in Mental Health (ECIMH)

You may be eligible for this study if you:

  • Are aged between 18 - 65 years
  • Have been diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Do not have an acquired brain injury or epilepsy
  • Do not have bipolar disorder or a psychotic disorder

Am I eligible?

Transcranial Alternating Current Stimulation (tACS) Trial

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) Trials

Theta Burst Stimulation (TBS) Trial

  • Three weeks of daily (Monday to Friday) TBS delivered at ECIMH across a 3-week period (i.e. 15 treatment sessions)
  • The study is broken up into two 3-week phases of treatment, separated by a 3-month "washout" period. In each phase you will receive a different type of brain stimulation
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans of the head will be conducted before and after the treatment period to investigate any potential changes in brain activity
  • Three weeks of twice daily (Monday to Friday) tACS self-administered at home (following training by researcher) followed by 3 further weeks of daily self-administered tACS, 3 days/week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday)
  • You will be randomly selected to receive either active or placebo (inactive) tACS. If you were randomised to the placebo group you will be offered active stimulation at the end of the 3-month "washout" period
  • You will undergo an electroencephalogram (EEG) before and after the treatment period to investigate any potential changes in brain activity. This EEG will also be used to determine the individualised tACS treatment frequency

Theta Burst Stimulation (TBS) is a form of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), which is a non-invasive brain stimulation technique that uses a magnetic pulse to stimulate brain cells. During TMS, a coil is placed on your head whilst you are seated comfortably in a chair, with the magnetic field increasing activity in the cells underneath the coil. TMS is considered a safe and pain-free intervention which has been approved as a treatment for depression, but there has been less research investigating TMS as a potential treatment for OCD.

What is TBS?