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Obsessive-compulsive disorder

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a chronic and debilitating condition that involves constant, unwanted and anxiety-provoking thoughts, urges and images. To reduce anxiety, people with OCD perform repetitive behaviours or mental acts. The disorder affects 2% to 3% of children and adults during their lifetime.

Poor response to first-line treatments, including medication and cognitive-behavioural therapy, is common. Sunnybrook researchers are investigating if focused ultrasound might be effective in these instances.

Focused ultrasound capsulotomy is a type of noninvasive brain surgery in which the heat generated from high-intensity focused ultrasound is used to destroy precisely the brain tissue that is involved in the disease. Unlike deep brain stimulation, another neuromodulation procedure that may be done in people with treatment-resistant OCD, it does not involve drilling a hole in the skull.

Dr. Nir Lipsman, a neurosurgeon and scientist at Sunnybrook Research Institute (SRI) and Dr. Kullervo Hynynen, director of Physical Sciences at SRI, have launched the first North American trial of focused ultrasound capsulotomy in people with OCD for whom medication and other therapies have not worked. For more information, visit the clinicaltrials.gov website: NCT03156335. If you are interested in participating in the trial, then please contact Anusha Baskaran, research manager, at 416-480-6100, ext. 1650.