Brain Biomarkers of OCD During a Decision-Making Task

We are conducting an imaging study to better understand how brain activity differs in individuals with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). We are particularly interested to know if OCD affects how the brain processes rewards and chooses between options to attain goals, a set of functions known in neuroscience as cognitive control. To study this we are using functional magnetic imaging (fMRI) to scan the brains of people with and without OCD while they play a simple video-game-like task. fMRI uses magnetic fields to detect relative oxygenation of blood in the brain. By measuring this, called the Blood Oxygen Level Dependent (BOLD) signal, in different parts of the brain during the task, and comparing those measurements between OCD and control groups, we will see if particular events in the task are associated with more or less activation in certain brain areas in individuals with OCD compared to controls. We are particularly interested in parts of the brain called the Anterior Cingulate Cortex (ACC) and the Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex (DLPFC), areas which have been previously been implicated in OCD. Our task is a computer-based game in which participants try to win money by choosing between options that differ in terms of their relative likelihood of yielding a reward.  

For each participant the study has three stages. First your complete a brief online screening survey to determine your level of OCD symptoms. Second you play the game on your own online in order to get used to the game and interface. Finally, after completing the online game, you will be asked to come to UCSF Mission Bay campus and play the game while the fMRI scanner is running. The fMRI scan is a 1.5-2 hour commitment and will occur Monday - Friday between 8-6 and involves lying still in a small space for up to an hour. Participants will be compensated for each stage of the study.  


*** This study is currently not recruiting***