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Bradley Hospital recruits teenagers for study on obsessive compulsive disorder

A file image of a brain scan. (WJAR){ }
A file image of a brain scan. (WJAR)
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Bradley Hospital is enrolling teenagers with obsessive compulsive disorder for a research study.

This research involves using TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation) to treat this mental health disorder.

TMS is already approved for adults with OCD.

"It is non-invasive. It is generally well tolerated in children. It basically involves holding a magnet-- it's about the size of my hand -- over someone's scalp and the magnetic current can be used to either turn up or turn down activity in that area," said Dr. Kristen Benito, the research and quality improvement lead for the Pediatric Anxiety Research Center at Bradley Hospital, and the principal investigator for this new study. "It is a leading cause of disability in the U.S."

OCD affects as many as 3% of teenagers.

"In particular in children, untreated OCD can cause a lot of different problems. It gets in the way of really important areas of development," said Benito. "It really has two hallmark components. So, there are obsession and there are compulsions. The obsessions are intrusive and distressing thoughts or sometimes images and the compulsions are like repetitive unhealthful actions that people will take to try to reduce the distress caused by obsessions."

This is a pilot study.

"Right now, we're just looking for fourteen teenagers to participate," said Benito. "What we're trying to do is test whether TMS can be used to turn down activity in a specific part of the brain."

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