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OCD subtypes page


QEEG data uses neuropshysiological sub typing to inform the design of personalised neurofeedback protocols and predict adjusted medication prescriptions for individual cases (Gunkelman, 2014). Our neurofeedback protocols work with known brain dynamics to obtain the desired therapeutic outcomes. Below, we present two main OCD subtypes (or EEG-phenotypes) that reveal two very different neurophysiological signatures, or candidate biomarkers, for obsessive compulsive disorders.


OCD subtype 1 - photo.jpg

Subtype 1: fast only (beta spindling)

Notice fast content (beta spindling) found predominantly at Cz and, at times at Fz, over the anterior- and the mid-cingulate cortex. This pattern is also known as the 'hot' cingulate subtype, known to modulate emotional processing (Vogt, 2009). The beta spindling can be, in some cases, exacerbated by benzodiazepines often prescribed to ease the anxiety symptoms typically found in clients with OCD. As such, benzodiazepines may not be the best option and the consequences can be negative. Crucially, the client is usually unable to discriminate the effects of benzodiazepines due to their already elevated baseline anxiety levels. However, we often find a marked increase in compulsive behaviours as a side effect with consequences for the client's safety and welfare (data collected at the QEEG & Brain Research Lab, Open University).

OCD subtype 1 comparison with controls - photo.jpg

The figure above shows a comparison of the spectral analysis (obtained from the above QEEG recording) with an age-matched control group. The significances, showing increased beta activity at Cz, are highlighted in yellow and the respective maps can be seen below the spectra.


Subtype 4: fast & slow mixed with parietal alpha

This subtype corresponds to a very different EEG-phenotype. Notice the mixed slow (theta) and fast (beta) activity seen here at Cz, where the beta frequency 'rides' on the theta frequency. This subtype has been called the hot (fast) and cold (slow) cingulate, found above the anterior- and mid-cingulate cortex, describing two nearly simultaneous speeds of emotional processing (Vogt, 2009). This pattern can also be found at Fz. Additionally, the parietal alpha can also be seen at P3 and/or P4, typically affecting Brodmann areas 39/40 - as revealed via ICA, not shown here.

OCD subtype 4 fast and slow - photo.jpg

OCD subtype 4 comparison with controls - photo.jpg

The above image shows a comparison of the spectra obtained from the 'fast' and 'slow' EEG recording with an age-matched control group. Both theta and beta range significances are highlighted in yellow and the corresponding brain maps are shown below.


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