Brain stimulation reduces symptoms in severe OCD by 42.5%

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Surgical treatment consists of implanting electrodes that allow specific points of the brain to be electrically stimulated in a selective and reversible way

Brain stimulation reduces symptoms in severe OCD by 42.5%

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A multidisciplinary team from the Bellvitge University Hospital (HUB) and the Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL) have confirmed that deep brain stimulation reduces by 42.5% the Symptoms in patients with severe Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

Approximately one in ten people who suffer from OCD has a chronic and disabling form of the disease. These more severe cases are resistant to conventional treatments -psychotherapy and drugs- and entail great suffering for both patients and their families, Bellvitge Hospital explained in a statement this Thursday.

Long-term reduction

In recent years, deep brain stimulation has begun to be studied as a therapeutic alternative for these patients.

Until now, knowledge of the long-term effects of this therapeutic option was very limited, but a study of psychiatrists and neurosurgeons from Bellvitge has confirmed that this is a safe and effective technique, with a reduction of obsessive symptoms by 42.5% in the long term.

Deep brain stimulation is a surgical treatment that consists of implanting some electrodesthat allow specific points of the brain to be electrically stimulated, selectively and reversibly, achieving therapeutic benefits in diseases resistant to treatment, such as Parkinson's disease, essential tremor, dystonia or epilepsy.

The Bellvitge Psychiatry and Neurosurgery Departments started the deep brain stimulation treatment program for patients with resistant and severe OCD in 2007.

The Bellvitge multidisciplinary team has studied the evolution of patients treated in this hospital between 2007 and 2020 for an average of 6.4 years.

Their data have been compared with those of a group of severely obsessive patients and resistant, who were offered The possibility of receiving deep brain stimulation, but who rejected it at the time.

Improvement of anxiety and depression

The results, published in the scientific journal “Brain Stimulation”, determine that, in addition to reducing obsessive symptoms, deep brain stimulation has also affected a strong>improvement of anxiety and depression in these patients and in a significant recovery of their functional capacity.

The study has also confirmed that few patients experience side effects and that most of them are mild and transient.

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