Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Brain Scan May Predict Improvement in Persons with OCD

Uzi Ben-Ami, Ph.D., is a highly experienced licensed psychologist. Uzi Ben-Ami, Ph.D., has cultivated and applied his in-depth knowledge in a variety of practice areas, including obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

An intrusive mental health condition, OCD leads a person to experience repetitive thoughts and perform compulsive actions on a regular basis. These thoughts and actions significantly interfere with a person’s daily life and can negatively impact relationships, productivity, and overall quality of life. Many people with OCD find relief through medication and Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), but even the combination of medicine and CBT is not effective in every single case.

Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, are now hoping to reduce the incidence of failed treatment by predicting a person’s likelihood of responding to CBT. The team used a functional MRI (fMRI). Functional magnetic resonance imaging or functional MRI (fMRI) is not intrusive or painful. It measures brain activity by detecting changes associated with blood flow. fMRI scaned the brains of individuals with OCD before and after a four-week intensive CBT program. After evaluating functional connectivity in the brain and symptom severity, researchers entered the data into a machine-learning program.

The machine-learning program accurately predicted which individuals would respond to CBT with an accuracy rate of 70 percent. In addition, the program predicted each individual’s symptoms assessment scores with a minimal margin of error. Hopefully, these results suggest that MRI scanning may one day be an effective pre-treatment evaluation tool, which could save patients the cost of ineffective treatment and would allow clinicians to pursue other methods.

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