Dr. Helen Blair Simpson describes the research on obsessive compulsive disorder/OCD that women should know about.
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Question: What research on obsessive compulsive disorder should women know about? Dr. Helen Blair Simpson: There is great interest these days in OCD. One of the head of a National Institute of Mental Health, Tom Insel, way back in his career started by studying OCD. That's a great thing because I think it's really helped focus on OCD, which historically had not received as much research funding. So now across the country there is great interest in really understanding how to improve our treatments for OCD and how to understand the brain mechanisms underlying obsessions and compulsions so we could device one day even better treatments. If people are interested in my research program, they can go to our website www.columbia-ocd.org. We do two things. One is for the patients of today; we are working to try to improve our current treatments, for example, how to improve adherence to cognitive behavioral therapy or how to augment the effects of medication, or trying out novel medications. But for the patients of tomorrow, our goal is to understand the brain mechanisms underlying the symptoms and so to advance that, we are doing brain imaging studies, looking at different neurochemicals in the brain to test hypothesis about what causes OCD and we're also partnering with basic scientists at our institution to try to develop animal models of OCD, so we can really get at the molecular and cellular mechanisms that underlie these symptoms.