BACKGROUND: Exposure and response prevention is an effective treatment for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), but it is unclear how symptom reduction is related to changes in the brain. We aimed to determine the effects of a 4-day concentrated exposure and response prevention program (Bergen 4-day treatment) on the static and dynamic functional connectome in patients with OCD.
METHODS: Thirty-four patients with OCD (25 unmedicated) underwent resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging the day before the Bergen 4-day treatment, and 28 (21 unmedicated) were rescanned after 1 week. Twenty-eight healthy control subjects were also scanned for baseline comparisons and 19 of them were rescanned after 1 week. Static and dynamic graph measures were quantified to determine network topology at the global, subnetwork, and regional levels (including efficiency, clustering, between-subnetwork connectivity, and node flexibility in module allegiance). The Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale was used to measure symptom severity.
RESULTS: Twenty-four patients (86%) responded to treatment. We found significant group × time effects in frontoparietal-limbic connectivity (ηp2 = .19, p = .03) and flexibility of the right subgenual anterior cingulate cortex (ηp2 = .18, p = .03), where, in both cases, unmedicated patients showed significant decreases while healthy control subjects showed no significant changes. Healthy control subjects showed increases in global and subnetwork efficiency and clustering coefficient, particularly in the somatomotor subnetwork.
CONCLUSIONS: Concentrated exposure and response prevention in unmedicated patients with OCD leads to decreased connectivity between the frontoparietal and limbic subnetworks and less flexibility of the connectivity of the subgenual anterior cingulate cortex, suggesting a more independent and stable network topology. This may represent less limbic interference on cognitive control subnetworks after treatment.
|Number of pages||10|
|Journal||Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging|
|Early online date||6 Feb 2020|
|Publication status||E-pub ahead of print - 6 Feb 2020|