Volunteers wanted - get a free pic of your brain

The search continues for volunteers to participate in a brain-imaging study on OCD and hair-pulling disorder (trichotillomania). If you participate in this important study, you will receive a picture of your brain to take home with you.

The Cross-University Brain-Behaviour Initiative (CUBBI) of the University of Cape Town & the MRC Unit on Anxiety & Stress Disorders, University of Stellenbosch, aim to investigate the effects of a chemical agent (escitalopram) on a person’s thinking patterns and emotional responses, as determined by functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).

It also aims to find out more about the role of specific polymorphisms in certain candidate genes that contribute to the development of these conditions via the analysis of candidate genes of patients from South Africa.

 Three “types” of volunteers are needed for participation:

  1. Right handed persons (aged between 18 and 65 years) diagnosed with OCD;
  2. Right handed persons (aged between 18 and 65 years) diagnosed with hair-pulling disorder (trichotillomania);
  3.  Healthy right handed first-degree relatives (aged between 18 and 65 years) of persons diagnosed with OCD.

Participation involves attendance of 3 sessions, with the first session comprising of an interview, filling out of questionnaires and taking a blood sample for genetic analysis.  During the subsequent two sessions a brain scan, with the once-off administration of escitalopram (20mg) beforehand, is done.  In addition, participants complete a number of neuropsychological tasks in the form of computerised games.  All procedures are carefully explained by the investigators.

Participant information will be kept confidential.  If you think you are up to the challenge, and want to contribute to this study, please contact:  Prof Christine Lochner (Tel: 021 - 938 9179, e-mail: CL2@sun.ac.za) or Bronwyne Coetzee (Tel: 021 - 938 9762, e-mail: bronwyne@sun.ac.za/ bronwynecoetzee@gmail.com) for more information. 

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