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January 2019 Edition

Spotlight is our monthly email series that gives our readers regular updates on OCD and related disorders research and news. Enjoy reading the January edition here on our blog, and if you would like to get the next update in your inbox, please click here!

Making Headlines

A roundup of recent stories from journalists, advocates, and researchers across the web.

4 Days of Intensive Therapy Can Reverse OCD for Years
By Diana Kwon
Scientific American
The Bergen four-day treatment for OCD concentrates exposure therapy into an intense, multi-day format that is showing promising results for patients and is attracting significant, international attention. For more info about the four-day treatment method, check out our OCD Newsletter article co-authored by Drs. Gerd Kvale and Bjarne Hansen.


Life After, Life After OCD
By Ethan S. Smith
IOCDF.org Blog
What happens when OCD is no longer the biggest challenge you face in your day to day life? After successful treatment, does life become easy, with OCD mere background noise rather than the seemingly immovable barrier that it was once before? In this blog post, IOCDF Ambassador Ethan Smith describes the surprising insights and lessons that came in the wake of his successful OCD treatment.

The IOCDF is now accepting applications for the 2019 Research Grant Awards!

Each year, the IOCDF awards grants to research scientists pursuing projects in the field of OCD and related disorders. This year we will award as many as eight research grants through our Young Investigator, Breakthrough, and Innovator Awards programs. Applications are due February 28th, 2019.

To learn more about these grants, and for information about how to apply, please visit our website.

Research Corner

A monthly roundup of the latest OCD research from scientific journals. Articles that require a journal subscription or purchase to view their full text are denoted with "($)". All linked articles provide a brief, publicly-accessible summary of research and findings.

Development and Psychometric Evaluation of the Children's Yale-Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Scale Second Edition
By Eric Storch, Joseph F. McGuire, Monica Wu, Rebecca Hamblin, Elizabeth McIngvale, Sandra Cepeda, Sophie Schneider, Katrina Rufino, Steven Rasmussen, Lawrence Price, and Wayne Goodman

Researchers have updated the Children’s Yale-Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Scale (CY-BOCS) to reflect new knowledge gained about OCD in the 25 years since the CY-BOCS was originally created. In this paper, the authors describe the new “CY-BOCS-II”, and describe the steps they took to test its reliability as a measure of OCD symptoms in children. IOCDF Board Member Dr. Elizabeth McIngvale, and IOCDF Scientific and Clinical Advisory Board members Drs. Eric Storch, Wayne Goodman, and Steven Rasmussen (emeritus) contributed to this research.

Impaired generalization of reward but not loss in obsessive-compulsive disorder ($)
By Nina Rouhani, George Elliott Wimmer, Franklin R. Schneier, Abby J. Fyer, Daphna Shohamy, and Helen Blair Simpson

Our brains draw general conclusions about our past experiences to help us respond quickly to new situations. However, what happens when this generalization process is impaired? Could impairments in generalizing, including “overgeneralizing” past threats during new and benign experiences, help explain OCD symptoms?

This study examined how people with OCD, people with Social Anxiety Disorder, and healthy individuals generalize experiences involving reward and loss. People with OCD were found to generalize loss experiences like their unaffected peers, but were impaired in their ability to generalize reward experiences. The study also found that those who had greater impairment in this regard were more likely to overestimate the severity of potential threats. Dr. Helen Blair Simpson, member of the IOCDF Scientific and Clinical Advisory Board (SCB), contributed to this research.

A randomized controlled trial of the judicious use of safety behaviors during exposure therapy
By Shannon Blakey, Jonathan Abramowitz, Jennifer L.Buchholz, Sarah C. Jessup, Ryan Jacoby, Lillian Reuman, and Kimberly Pentel

Standard protocols for treatment with exposure therapy call for patients to experience feared situations without engaging in the behaviors that they typically use to reduce anxiety or make themselves feel safe.

However, resisting safety behaviors can make treatment very challenging for patients. In this study, participants engaged in exposure therapy for clinically significant spider phobia; half received standard exposure therapy, and half received exposure therapy where they were allowed to engage in “judicious” use of safety behaviors.

It was expected that the exposure with safety behaviors group would experience less symptom improvement from treatment, but results showed the treatment was equally effective for both groups of patients. While the study offers new information about the effects of safety behaviors on inhibitory learning, the authors caution that these results may not generalize to more complex disorders like OCD and PTSD. IOCDF SCB member Dr. Jon Abramowitz contributed to this project, as did Dr. Ryan Jacoby, who received a 2017 grant from the IOCDF for BDD research.

Photo:  Tarantula  by Jason Scragz,  CC 2.0  / Cropped from original

Attend the 7th Annual Hoarding Meeting

This year, the 7th Annual Hoarding Meeting will be held July 18-21 in Austin, TX. The Annual Hoarding Meeting offers an opportunity for professionals to learn how to effectively and compassionately work with individuals with hoarding disorder (HD), as well as provides critical information for individuals, families, and loved ones affected by HD.

If you are looking for training, education, resources, or support to manage HD, we encourage you to learn more about the Annual Hoarding Meeting.

Research Highlight: Hoarding Disorder

Hoarding disorder (HD) is a complex issue that affects 2-4 percent of people around the world. Learn more about HD treatment, research, and other resources that can help.

Recruiting under-represented populations into psychiatric research: Results from the help for hoarding study
By Anna Martin, Jessica Zakrzewski, Chia-Ying Chou, Soo Uhm, R. Michael Gause, Joanne Chan, Monika Eckfield, Mark Salazar, Ofilio Vigil, David Bain, Sandra J. Stark, R. Scott Mackin, Eduardo Vega, Kevin Delucchi, Janice Tsoh, and Carol Mathews

This paper explores the recruitment strategies that were used in large study of behavioral treatmentsfor hoarding. They found that word of mouth was most effective mode of recruiting certain underrepresented groups, including elderly and disabled individuals, but that a multimodal strategy was needed to ensure that the participant pool was broadly diverse and representative. Interestingly, they found that traditional media advertising through radio and newspaper was the least effective way of reaching participants, despite being the most expensive method utilized. Co-author Dr. Carol Mathews is a member of the IOCDF SCB.

Photo:  Message Board  by Alex Garcia,  CC 2.0

Augmenting Buried in Treasures with in-home uncluttering practice: Pilot study in hoarding disorder ($)
By Omer Linkovski, Jordana Zwerling, Elisabeth Cordell, Danae Sonnenfeld, Henry Willis, Christopher La Lima, Colleen Baker, Rassil Ghazzaoui, Robyn Girson, Catherine Sanchez, Brianna Wright, Mason Alford, Andrea Varias, Maria Filippou-Frye, Hanyang Shen, Booil Jo, Lee Shuer, Randy Frost, and Carolyn Rodriguez

The best treatments currently available are able to achieve improvements for people with hoarding disorder, but have been unable to achieve complete reductions in symptoms. In this study, researchers sought to improve an effective, evidence-based program for hoarding (the Buried in Treasures (BIT) workshop) with up to 20 hours of uncluttering help in participants’ homes.

They found in-home uncluttering to be an effective addition to the BIT workshop. IOCDF SCB members Drs. Carolyn Rodriguez and Randy Frost contributed to this article. Henry Willis is the recipient of a Young Investigator Award for OCD research, and Dr. Omer Linkovski was recognized for an outstanding research poster at the 2018 Annual OCD Conference.

Find other research-related resources from the IOCDF, including:

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