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Help shape a brighter future for those struggling with OCD
Everyone can experience obsessive thoughts or compulsive behaviours at times, but for some this can lead to unhelpful cycles of thoughts, feeling and behaviours, or unwelcome thoughts and feelings. This may lead to mental health problems, such as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). 
OCD is a common mental health problem that can have a big impact on one’s life. There is a need for new interventions that better address the symptoms of OCD, surpassing the currently available treatments.
Enter low-intensity transcranial ultrasound stimulation (TUS), an emerging, non-invasive technique targeting specific brain regions linked to OCD. This method, known as 'neuromodulation,' holds promise in restoring the dysfunctional brain circuits underpinning OCD. 
This pioneering research is taking place at the University of Plymouth.
Your participation as a volunteer is indispensable in advancing the development of this ground-breaking treatment.
Join us in pioneering a solution for a healthier tomorrow.

Recruiting now

  • Do you experience obsessive thoughts or compulsive behaviours?
  • Do your obsessive thoughts cause anxiety or unease? 
  • Do you repeat behaviours or mental acts to relive unpleasant feelings?
  • Do you identify as someone with OCD?
  • Have you been diagnosed with OCD, or sought help from your GP for symptoms of OCD?
Answered yes to at least one of these questions? You can take part by volunteering for this study. 
If you feel you have suffered from symptoms of OCD in the last year, YOU can help in the development of future treatments.
For this research study we will be recruiting up to 20 participants in total. Please note, you should be aged between 20-50 years to participate.

Participating in this study involves...

  • Questionnaires about your mental health and wellbeing
  • An initial assessment session, followed by five weekly testing sessions including:
    • MRI brain scans
    • Ultrasound brain stimulation sessions.

In recognition of your contribution, you will receive...

  • up to £180 in cash to reimburse you for your participation
  • travel expenses reimbursed up to £10 per session
  • a picture of your brain.

Will I personally benefit from ultrasound brain stimulation?

While some participants may experience temporary symptom relief, such outcomes are not assured. This study seeks to ascertain whether any benefits arise, making your involvement crucial in expanding our understanding of this treatment's potential for OCD. Your participation will also facilitate the refinement of methodologies for future investigations in this field.
Please complete the eligibility questionnaire to apply (5-10 minutes). A member of our team will be in contact with you once the questionnaire has been received.
An ultrasound to change brain activity
Ultrasounds have been used in different clinical settings for decades. Well known for monitoring pregnancies at low intensity, high-intensity ultrasound, on the other hand, is also used to treat certain tumours in the body. 
Transcranial ultrasound stimulation uses ultrasound at low intensity to reach specific areas of the brain with pinpoint accuracy, giving it the potential to help treat mental illnesses, as well as neurological disorders like Parkinson’s disease. It can change the way some brain areas behave, potentially leading to long-term beneficial changes.
It is non-invasive, and has been shown to be safe and reversible in more than a hundred people who have taken part in our previous study.
Leading the way in transcranial ultrasound stimulation
The University of Plymouth's pioneering research in transcranial ultrasound stimulation has the potential to improve the lives of millions of people with mental health conditions as well as neurological disorders like Parkinson’s disease.
Dr Elsa Fouragnan is a leading authority on transcranial ultrasound stimulation research in the UK, and is recognised internationally. Her lab is one of the few in the UK to apply TUS in humans.
This research is hosted at the University’s Brain Research & Imaging Centre (BRIC) – the most advanced multi-modal brain research facility in the South West. 
Photograph of Dr Elsa Fouragnan