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Deep brain stimulation in the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder: current perspectives

Authors Tastevin M, Spatola G, Régis J, Lançon C, Richieri R

Received 22 January 2019

Accepted for publication 23 April 2019

Published 15 May 2019 Volume 2019:15 Pages 1259—1272

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/NDT.S178207

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Colin Mak

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Roger Pinder


Maud Tastevin,1 Giorgio Spatola,2,3 Jean Régis,2,3 Christophe Lançon,1 Raphaëlle Richieri1,4

1Department of Psychiatry, Addictions and Psychiatry for Children, Public Assistance Marseille Hospitals, 13005 Marseille, France; 2Department of Functional and Stereotactic Neurosurgery, Public Assistance Marseille Hospitals, 13005 Marseille, France; 3Institut de Neurosciences des Systèmes, Aix Marseille University, Inserm UMR1106, France; 4Faculté des Sciences de Saint Jérôme, Aix Marseille University, Institut Fresnel - UMR 7249, Marseille, France

Abstract: Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is a neuro-psychosurgical technique widely accepted in movement disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease. Since 1999, DBS has been explored for severe, chronic and treatment-refractory psychiatric diseases. Our review focuses on DBS in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), considered as a last treatment resort by most of learned societies in psychiatry. Two main stimulation areas have been studied: the striatal region and the subthalamic nucleus. But, most of the trials are open-labeled, and the rare controlled ones have failed to highlight the most efficient target. The recent perspectives are otherwise encouraging. Indeed, clinicians are currently considering other promising targets. A case series of 2 patients reported a decrease in OCD symptoms after DBS in the medial forebrain bundle and an open-label study is exploring bilateral habenula stimulation. New response criteria are also investigating such as quality of life, or subjective and lived-experience. Moreover, first papers about cost-effectiveness which is an important criterion in decision making, have been published. The effectiveness of tractography-assisted DBS or micro-assisted DBS is studying with the aim to improve targeting precision. In addition, a trial involving rechargeable pacemakers is undergoing because this mechanism could be efficient and have a positive impact on cost-effectiveness. A recent trial has discussed the possibility of using combined cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and DBS as an augmentation strategy. Finally, based on RDoc Research, the latest hypotheses about the understanding of cortico-striato-thalamo-cortical circuits could offer new directions including clinical predictors and biomarkers to perform adaptive closed-loop systems in the next future.

Keywords: deep brain stimulation, obsessive compulsive disorder, treatment-refractory, Yale-Brown obsessive-compulsive scale, cortico-striato-thalamo-cortical circuitry, Research Domain Criteria


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