NNL.20.010 – Neuromodulation for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder – New Translational Pathways in Psychiatry

Route: NeuroLabNL: the ultimate living lab for brain, cognition and behavioural research

Cluster question: 083 How do neurological, psychiatric, and mental disorders arise, and how can we prevent, mitigate, or cure them?

We will develop and evaluate new treatments for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) that are based on neuromodulation selectively targeting brain circuits associated with specific symptom clusters. Such neuromodulation includes the non-invasive techniques transcranial magnetic stimulation and neurofeedback as well as invasive techniques such as deep-brain stimulation. Although some of these techniques have already been applied for the treatment of OCD with encouraging results, we propose that the much needed further development of neuromodulation for OCD faces three main challenges: i) understanding the neural effects of neuromodulation (mechanisms), ii) differentiating between patients with different symptom profiles (stratification) and iii) developing technical solutions that can be adapted to an individual’s clinical state and illness course (personalisation). We will directly address these challenges and overcome current bottlenecks by systematically investigating the stimulation mechanisms through the combination of neuromodulation with techniques that allow us to read out changes in neural activity such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), electroencephalography (EEG) and, for the invasive neurostimulation, direct recordings from the implanted electrodes (local field potentials). By combining these with experimental learning paradigms, we can systematically explore synergistic effects of neuromodulation. We will use existing patient cohorts and new prospectively collected data to stratify patients according to their clinical profiles and underlying neural circuit alterations. Finally, we will target these patient groups with new refined neuromodulation protocols that have been shown to reliably modulate the relevant circuits and can be combined with other treatments in a personalised fashion. Our consortium has considerable expertise in the identification of the brain circuits associated with core symptoms of OCD and the underlying emotional/cognitive dysfunctions and in the full range of neuromodulation methods. The consortium will improve treatment of chronic OCD and pave the way for the broader use of translational neuroscience strategies in mental health.


brain, mental health, networks, treatment

Other organisations

Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen (RU), VU Medisch Centrum Amsterdam (VUMC)


Organisation Maastricht University (UM)
Name Prof. Dr. David Linden
E-mail david.linden@maastrichtuniversity.nl
Website https://mhens.mumc.maastrichtuniversity.nl/