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A Neuroimaging Study of Pediatric OCD, At-Risk Siblings, and Healthy Controls

This cross-sectional study examines potentially heritable neural correlates of pediatric OCD by conducting MRI and EEG-fMRI scans on OCD-affected youth, their siblings and healthy controls


We perform structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans on the participants in each group to examine brain structure (including white matter tracts in the OCD-implicated cortico-striatal-thalamic pathways). In addition, participants will complete simultaneous electroencephalography and functional MRI (EEG-fMRI) resting state scans and tasks to examine brain function in OCD-affected brain regions (or fMRI only, if EEG-fMRI not feasible or participant prefers). By comparing the brain structure and function of those with different levels of genetic risk (i.e., OCD-affected patients, at-risk siblings and healthy controls), we will aim to identify the brain regions and neural pathways that significantly differ between the three groups. Future studies will then investigate the specific genes associated with these brain areas and neural firing patterns.

Study Procedures

Upon expressing interest in this study, all subjects will be contacted for a short screening questionnaire over the phone to ensure that they are eligible for the study and can undergo an MRI scan (e.g., do not have metal in their bodies, do not have claustrophobia, are not pregnant, etc.). the will also complete the Anxiety Disorder Interview Schedule (ADIS) to establish lifetime psychiatric diagnoses. Participants will be given the option to complete some of the study questionnaires before the day of testing through REDCap.
 Participants will attend to a 3 hour visit at the Child & Family Research Imaging Facility (CFRIF). The fMRI captures brain functioning profiles at rest (resting state connectivity), and during planning, response inhibition, and symptom provocation. These specific tasks have been selected as they have been shown to successfully target brain regions implicated in OCD. 

Potential benefits

Results of the present study will help to contribute to knowledge of the structural and functional neurocircuitry involved in OCD. The findings from this study and its resulting studies could potentially help predict whether individuals are at risk of developing OCD and aid in diagnosis of the disorder. Furthermore, knowledge of the underlying causes of OCD may lead to improved treatment methods.

SOURCE: A Neuroimaging Study of Pediatric OCD, At-Risk Siblings, and Healthy Controls ( )
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