2023 Innovator Award

Deep TMS for obsessive-compulsive disorder: An fMRI study

Abraham Zangen, PhD

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (Beersheba, Israel)

Award Amount: $285,381

Deep transcranial magnetic stimulation (dTMS), a non-invasive and generally well-tolerated brain stimulation method, was recently granted FDA clearance for the treatment of OCD after pilot studies, real-world data, and a large multi-center study confirmed its efficacy. However, more research into the mechanism of action of dTMS is needed, as well as which type of OCD patients are most likely to benefit from this treatment.

This study by Dr. Zangen and his team will further investigate the mechanism of action of dTMS for OCD using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) before and after the dTMS treatment protocol. Scanning will be conducted during rest and during a behavioral task known to activate brain areas relevant to OCD neuropathology. Thus, modifications to brain activity could be 1) correlated with behavioral and clinical modifications; and 2) be compared to those observed following beneficial pharmacological and behavioral interventions, in the attempt to find a common response circuit and inform our understanding of OCD neurobiology. Finally, the results may offer neurobiological markers that will allow patient selection for dTMS treatment, making dTMS more effective and predictable for patients.