Chemistry of OCD

In this project we investigate the neurochemical correlates of obsessive thoughts in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) patients. We let patients perform a symptom provocation task while acquiring functional 1H-magnetic resonance spectroscopy (fMRS) scans inside an ultra-high field (7 Tesla) MRI scanner.

We will use this new and innovative technique to measure task-induced fluctuations in the concentration of neurochemicals such as glutamate. We expect that OCD patients have an altered neurochemical profile in visual brain areas in response to symptom provoking stimuli, that may partly explain their symptoms.

We seek 30 OCD patients and 30 healthy control participants for this project to better understand the neurochemical driving forces of symptom development. We will additionally acquire sub-millimeter structural MRI scans to zoom in on the morphometric alterations of subcortical brain areas we know are involved in the pathophysiology of OCD (i.e. pallidum and thalamus) and further corroborate the findings of the ENIGMA-OCD workgroup.

This project is performed at the Spinoza centre for neuroimaging (location AMC) and is supported by a VIDI grant (Odile van den Heuvel) and a grant from Amsterdam Neuroscience (Chris Vriend)

Involved researchers are prof. Odile van den Heuvel, Niels de Joode, Anouk Schrantee (AMC) and Chris Vriend.

Contact information

Niels de Joode, PhD student

Chris Vriend and Odile van den Heuvel, project leaders