TOC : a fake rubber hand and fake pasture to treat

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) affects up to one in 50 people in the world. Almost half of people with OCD, this translates into a fear insurmountable to be contaminated by bacteria and other pathogens, where a behaviour hygienist to the extreme, via a hand-washing, repeated, disinfection of its environment etc

OCD can be a condition extremely debilitating for many people, but the treatments are not always simple,” said Baland Jalal, a neuroscientist in the Department of psychiatry of the University of Cambridge and co-author of the study published January 9 in the journal Frontiers in Neuroscience. “In fact, exposure therapy (consisting of exposing the patient to their phobia, editor’s note) can be very stressful and is not always effective or even feasible for many patients.

To try To improve the support of the persons concerned, a team of researchers us-uk have used the experience sensorineural of the false rubber hand experience that they were then changed in a surprising manner.

The illusion of the rubber hand works this way : the person “crackers” lays his hands on a table. One is then hidden and a rubber hand placed in to the place. In order for the illusion to be perfect, the rubber hand and the real hand are ticked at the same time, so that the guinea pig was considered, at least at the sensory level, that the rubber hand was their real hand.

But the team went further in the subterfuge. After several minutes, the rubber hand was covered in what was akin to a bowel movement (in reality, chocolate well disguised visually and the sense of smell). At the same time, to maintain the illusion, the hand concealed was rubbed with a handkerchief wet, so that the 29 volunteers for the study, with all of TOC, have been under the impression that their hand was covered in pasture. The volunteers reported feeling both anxious and disgusted by this “show”, while trying as much as possible to suppress their urge to go wash hands immediately.Exposure to their phobia of contamination is more devious and less traumatic than in the classical therapies.

While the therapy by traditional exhibition can be stressful, the illusion of rubber hand often makes people laugh at the beginning, and this puts them at ease. It is also a simple [to develop] and cheap compared to virtual reality, and can thus be easily available for patients in distress, no matter where they are,” said Baland Jalal, a neuroscientist in the Department of Psychiatry of the University of Cambridge (United Kingdom).

Of clinical trials on a larger scale must be undertaken to confirm these results and compares them with those therapies exposure classic.

Source : press release

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