Cortical Excitability in Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details. Identifier: NCT00029068
Recruitment Status : Completed
First Posted : January 7, 2002
Last Update Posted : March 4, 2008
Information provided by:
National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC)

Brief Summary:

This study will use transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to study the function of the cerebral cortex (outer layer of the brain) in people with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and related disorders. A non-invasive procedure, TMS activates areas of the brain with magnetic pulses that travel through the scalp and head and cause small electrical currents in the brain.

People 18 years of age and older with OCD and disorders that may be related-tic disorders, such as Tourette's syndrome, focal dystonia (localized muscle cramps), body dysmorphic disorder (hypersensitivity to changes in appearance), eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa, trichotillomania (compulsive hair-pulling)-may be eligible for this study. Healthy normal volunteers will also be enrolled. Candidates will be screened by telephone interview.

Participants will undergo TMS. For this procedure, an insulated wire coil is placed on the subject's head. A brief electrical current passes through the coil, creating a magnetic pulse that travels through the scalp and skull and causes small electrical currents in the outer part of the brain. The stimulation may cause muscle, hand or arm twitching, or may affect movement or reflexes. During the stimulation, the subject may be asked to tense certain muscles slightly or perform other simple actions. The electrical activity of muscles during stimulation is recorded with a computer or other recording device, using electrodes attached to the skin with tape.

Subjects will receive fewer than 500 magnetic pulses, and the study will take less than 3 hours. Participants may repeat the procedure on several occasions, if they agree.

Condition or disease
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Healthy

Detailed Description:
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), a noninvasive means of stimulating the brain through the scalp and skull, has become an important tool in neurophysiology and neuropsychiatry. The purpose of this project is (1) to use TMS as a probe of cortical excitability to investigate the physiology of the cerebral cortex in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and OCD-related disorders (including the "OCD spectrum"), which we believe to be disorders involving alterations in the excitability of the cortex; (2) to compare those findings to results in healthy individuals, and (3) to evaluate the possible effects of various pharmacological treatments on TMS parameters in individuals with OCD and OCD-related disorders. This protocol seeks to evaluate the hypothesis that TMS may provide a sensitive measure of cortical function that is relevant to the underlying pathology in OCD and OCD-related disorders. The identification of possible anomalies of TMS measures in these patient groups and changes elicited by pharmaceutical agents will be useful in orienting research towards investigations of the cortical neurotransmitter systems.

Study Type : Observational
Enrollment : 145 participants
Official Title: Studies of Cortical Excitability in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Related Disorder and Healthy Volunteers Using Paired-Pulse Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation
Study Start Date : January 2002
Study Completion Date : December 2003

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U.S. FDA Resources

Information from the National Library of Medicine

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Ages Eligible for Study:   Child, Adult, Senior
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   Yes


Subjects will be screened for history of significant medical and non-OCD-related neuropsychiatric illnesses by means of a phone screening and interview with a trained screener (nurse, physician, social worker or psychologist).

Each patient and healthy volunteer entered into the study must be free of significant medical or psychiatric illness and not taking any medications with neurological or psychotropic effects.

The presence of neurological abnormalities will not be an exclusionary criterion because of the existence of lesional OCD & OCD spectrum disorders that may co-exist with neurological disorders.


The only exclusionary criteria for this study are subjects who have a pacemaker, an implanted medication pump, a metal plate in the skull, metal objects inside the eye or skull (for example, after brain surgery or a shrapnel wound) or any recent (less than 3 months) brain lesions.

Subjects under 18 years of age will be excluded.

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its identifier (NCT number): NCT00029068

United States, Maryland
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Bethesda, Maryland, United States, 20892
Sponsors and Collaborators
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)

Publications: Identifier: NCT00029068     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: 020076
First Posted: January 7, 2002    Key Record Dates
Last Update Posted: March 4, 2008
Last Verified: December 2003

Keywords provided by National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC):
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
OCD Spectrum Disorders
Obsessive Compulsive
Tourette Syndrome
Cortical Excitability
Motor Cortex
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation
Healthy Volunteer
Normal Control

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Compulsive Personality Disorder
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Pathologic Processes
Personality Disorders
Mental Disorders
Anxiety Disorders