Review of the 17th Annual Scientific Meeting

The 17th Annual Scientific Meeting of the ECNP-OCRN International College of Obsessive-Compulsive Spectrum Disorders (ICOCS) was held in Lisbon on 1st October 2021. This year for the first time it was a hybrid event, with 17 in-person and 21 remotely attending participants spread across the world. As a brand-new format, it was a great success, conducted according to all preventive measures toward the COVID19 pandemic and allowing the widest possible number of interested people to actively participate.

The main focus of the meeting was on the impact of the COVID19 pandemic and lockdown on patients in particular with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and how to manage them in this period of uncertainty. Firstly, Dr Luca Pellegrini (Early Career Scientist, Hertfordshire, UK) gave a talk and presented new data about the role of obsessive-compulsive traits and rigidity in the general public on adaptation to the release of COVID-19 restrictions (post-lockdown adjustment). Professor Michael Van Ameringen (Hamilton, Canada) and Professor Bernardo Dell’Osso (Milan, Italy) reported clinical data from different OCD tertiary clinics in Canada and in Northern Italy respectively. Their presentations were followed by an audience discussion on, but not limited to, how the restriction and then release phases impacted differently on patients’ clinical symptoms as assessed by the major psychometric scales (YBOCS, HAM-A, HAM-D…). After that followed two fascinating lectures on the topic of neuroimmunology. Professor Astrid Morer (Barcelona, Spain), whose background is in this subject, gave a detailed explanation of the neuroimmune hypothesis of OCD, from a historical and contemporary perspective. She described how the field had moved forward since the discovery of pediatric autoimmune disorders associated with infection with streptococcus (PANDAS) to a broader concept of pediatric acute-onset neuropsychiatric syndromes (PANS) as infection-induced autoimmune conditions that disrupt a young patient’s normal neurological functioning, resulting in a sudden onset of OCD and/or motor tics, amongst other symptoms, likely based at least in part on brain-based molecular mimicry. Obtaining a correct diagnosis can be challenging and may be aided by serological tests. The contribution of immune therapies is a matter of ongoing research interest. Professor Morer then went on to discuss how this body of knowledge may help us better understand the relationship between OCD and the consequences of viral infections in the context of the COVID era. This led nicely onto the lecture by Professor Stefano Pallanti (Florence, Italy), who presented new insights into the neuroimmune mechanisms in post-COVID NeuroSyndrome in OCD and afterward that of Prof. Eric Hollander (New York, USA), who introduced novel therapeutics targeting IL-6 proinflammatory Cytokines and T-Cells as a promising treatment undergoing active investigation for autism spectrum disorders that may be of value in OCD.

After the presentations, it was possible to look at the submitted posters that covered a wide variety of interesting topics associated with OCD including the role of microbiota and the epigenetic axis, the association between cannabis use and OCD symptoms, and cyberchondria and other forms of problematic use of the internet as relevant comorbidities in OCD. These are just a few examples of a long and exciting list! Among all the valuable contributions, a poster on a meta-analysis investigating the effectiveness of r-TMS in SSRI-resistant and non-SSRI-resistant OCD subgroups, conducted at University of Hertfordshire (lead author Dr Luca Pellegrini), was awarded the prestigious Herman Westenberg Prize.

At the end of the day, it was time for the Annual General Meeting and activity planning for the next year, during which it was discussed, among many other issues, how to improve the accessibility of the ICOCS website, how to raise awareness of our organisations to encourage new members to join us, and how to update the ICOCS research database. Finally, Professor Naomi Fineberg (ICOCS Secretary, UK) presented an exciting new networked grant application, for competitive submission to the Horizon Europe funding agency. The project intends to investigate the impact of increased digitalization on society, with a specific focus on problematic internet use.

ICOCS at the 60th Annual ACNP Meeting

*Registration is now closed. Thank you to all of our members who attended the meeting.*

Registration is now open for the ICOCS meeting that is being held during the 60th Annual ACNP Meeting in Puerto Rico in December.  We are happy to announce that this will be a hybrid event.  

The ICOCS meeting will take place on Monday, December 6, 2021 from 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm in the Chrysler Conference Room at the Puerto Rico Convention Centre, and members will also be able to join the meeting virtually using Zoom. 


Registration is required for both in-person and virtual attendance.  Registration is free for all paid-up ICOCS and OCRN members.  Please email office@icocs.org to register.

Review of the 16th Annual Scientific Meeting

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ICOCS Annual Scientific Meeting, which was going to be held in Vienna, Austria this year, was changed to a virtual meeting.

The meeting took place on September 10 and 11 via Zoom, and was attended by 35 of our members. The theme of the meeting was Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders under COVID-19, and it consisted of nine talks, a virtual poster session, and the ICOCS Annual General Meeting of Members. Most of the talks are available for members to view on our website here, and the virtual poster session is available for members to view here.

Thank you to all of our members who helped organize the meeting, and to all those who promoted and attended the event.

Comments from Meeting Attendees:

  • Well organized. Covered a broad range of studies of impact of COVID on OCD related disorders around the world.
  • Very interesting and valued contribution to our knowledge horizon.
  • Nicely executed!
  • This was an excellent occasion that I thoroughly enjoyed. I was inspired by the work that was presented. But I am disappointed that we could not meet in person. Hopefully, going forwards, there would be the opportunity to meet in person.

Learning to deal with Problematic Usage of the Internet – eBook

Learning to deal with Problematic Usage of the Internet.

A book written for the public, edited by the COST Action CA16207 in collaboration with the International College of Obsessive Compulsive Spectrum Disorders (ICOCS) and the International Obsessive Compulsive and Related Disorders Research Network of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology (OCRN-ECNP)’.

This publication is based upon work from COST Action CA 16207, supported by COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology), linked to the Project “European Research Network into Problematic Usage of the Internet” (EU-PUI) and funded by the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme of the European Union in collaboration with: the International College of Obsessive-Compulsive Spectrum Disorders (ICOCS) and the Obsessive Compulsive and Related Disorders Research Network (OCRN) of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ECNP), and the Anxiety and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders Scientific Section of the World Psychiatric Association (WPA)’

The International College of Obsessive Compulsive Disorders is pleased to be able to offer this resource to you for free.  However, a donation to our organization is appreciated and will allow us to continue to do research in the field of OCD and associated disorders, as well as continue to provide free resources such as this.

Welcome

Welcome to the website for the International College of Obsessive Compulsive Spectrum Disorders (ICOCS).

The ICOCS is primarily aimed at advancing, promoting and facilitating research into the causes and consequences of obsessive compulsive disorder and obsessive compulsive spectrum disorders. The organization intends to aid and stimulate mental health professionals and others to develop research projects in this field, and to help coordinate research efforts amongst members. To this end, our website will be dedicated to news, research findings, funding opportunities and new developments in the study of OCD and OC spectrum disorders. One or more scientific meetings will be held annually for ICOCS members and other interested clinicians and researchers.

The ICOCS also intends to increase public health awareness in regard to OCD and OC spectrum disorders with the hope of improving diagnosis and encouraging better deployment of resources for assessment and treatment. We shall be prepared to offer advice to legislative bodies and governmental agencies and cooperate on national and international treatment guidelines.