Category Archives: Meetings

Review of the ICOCS-OCRN Meeting: Next Generation Treatments for Obsessive Compulsive and Related Disorders

The ICOCS-OCRN Meeting: Next Generation Treatments for Obsessive Compulsive and Related Disorders was held in New York City at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine on May 6th 2024. This meeting was a hybrid event, hosting 81 virtual participants in addition to our in-person attendees!

The main focus of the meeting was to highlight the latest cutting edge treatments for Obsessive Compulsive and Related Disorders. 

First, we heard from Dr. Christopher Pittenger (MD PhD Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut) who gave a talk on emerging experimental evidence, including his own work, showing that psilocybin holds promise of acute efficacy in OCD. Dr. Carolyn Rodriguez (MD PhD Stanford Medicine, California) critically reviewed the mixed results for Intravenous Ketamine, a NMDA receptor glutamate antagonist in OCD, including her own groundbreaking randomised controlled trials which showed evidence of rapid yet relatively short-lived efficacy. Dr. Eric Hollander (MD Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York) moved on to review some new work from a series of open label cases which showed promising findings for Intranasal Esketamine, the purportedly more active enantiomer, in a mixed group of depressed patients with comorbid OCD symptoms including some with treatment-resistant OCD. Dr. Michael Van Ameringen (MD McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario) reviewed the existing and mixed evidence on the effects of cannabinoids, including THC and cannabidiol in OCD. Their presentations were followed by stimulating talk by Marc Summers, who shared a moving presentation describing his personal lived experience of a lifetime of OCD, which he is currently running as a highly successful one man play off Broadway – The life and slimes of Marc Summers. Marc pressed home on not only the impact of OCD, alluding to its corrosive effect on mood, highly familial nature and how so many people suffer in silence, but also, some of the positives associated with obsessive-compulsive behaviours including, but not limited to, persistence. Next, Dr. Humberto Nicolini (MD PhD National Institute of Mental Health, Mexico) presented compelling evidence from a large epidemiological and genetic study in Mexico which indicated that polygenic risk scores for cannabis use overlap strongly with polygenic risk scores (PRS) for psychosis and suggested that people with OCD at increased genetic risk for cannabis use might have increased actual risk of cannabis use and an associated development of psychosis. Casara Jean Ferretti (MS MA PhD Candidate Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York) shared details on a possible role for glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonists in treating obesity, impulsive and compulsive behaviours in obsessive compulsive and related disorders. Finally, Dr. Bernardo Dell’Osso (MD University of Milan, Italy) shared the details of an upcoming joint initiative of the ICOCS and OCRN – Training Masterclass: Obsessive Compulsive Spectrum Disorders, from translational models to clinical management – our first training masterclass in OCD, a virtual webinar to be held in Taormina, Italy from June 19th-23rd! Further details of this upcoming initiative can be found here. As the meeting approached its end, Naomi Fineberg (MBBS, MA, MRCPsych University of Hertfordshire) and David Nutt (DM, FRCP, FRPsych, FSB, FMedSci Kings College, London) shared the stage as they most gracefully brought this meeting to its end, detailing not only a summary of the intriguing talks that took place but also a positive outlook on the future of OCD research and of the potential treatments for patients with OCD. 

The recording of the ICOCS-OCRN Meeting: Next Generation Treatments for Obsessive Compulsive and Related Disorders can be found on our website here.

ICOCS-OCRN 2024 New York Meeting

Join us on Monday May 6th from 9 am – 3 pm EDT to learn about the latest cutting-edge treatments for OCD and related disorders from leading experts in the field!

LOCATION: Hybrid – LeFrak Auditorium Price Centre, Albert Einstein College of Medicine. This meeting will also be live streamed via zoom for virtual attendees. 

WHEN: Monday May 6th 9 AM – 3 PM EDT

REGISTRATION: Free for ICOCS members and Einstein-Montefiore Students, Faculty and Staff, $25 for all other attendees. To register for the meeting click HERE.

Please see below for more information.

ECNP-OCRN-ICOCS Training Masterclass

____________ Obsessive Compulsive Spectrum Disorders: __________ from translational models to clinical management

Registration for attending the live webinar will close on Monday June 17th, 2024 at 11:59 ET. After this date, you will still be able to register to gain access to the meeting recordings, however, if you wish to participate in the live webinar as well you must register and pay for your ticket prior to Monday June 17th, 2024 at 11:59 ET 


The aim of this masterclass is to offer attendees up-to-date and comprehensive knowledge in the field of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Obsessive Compulsive Spectrum Disorders (OCSDs) with specific emphasis on: 

  1.   Diagnosis and assessment
  2.   Neurobiology, clinical insights and comorbidity
  3.   Animal models
  4.   Neuroimaging data
  5.   Therapeutic interventions                                                                                                                                          … and other key topics!


This is a 5-day masterclass that will take place in Taromina, Italy, and will be hosted virtually from Wednesday June 19th to Sunday June 23rd, 2024. The recording of the masterclass will also be made available to registered participants. Click HERE to see the schedule of events.

Paid-up ICOCS members will be entitled to a 50% off discount on registration fees. 

  • Full 5-day masterclass participation registration fee: 300 for academics and clinicians, and €150 for residents, students and trainees. Discounted price for ICOCS members: €150 and €75, respectively.
  • Single day participation registration fee: €50 for all participants (academics, clinicians,  residents, students and trainees). Discounted price for ICOCS members: €25

If you are not currently an ICOCS member, and would like to attend the meeting, we encourage you to apply for ICOCS membership HERE.

For any technical difficulties or questions you have during the livestreaming of the event, please email  

ECNP-OCRN-ICOCS 19th Annual Scientific Meeting

Registration is now open for the 19th Annual ECNP-OCRN-ICOCS Scientific Meeting. The topic of this year’s meeting is the ICOCS-CANMAT Guidelines: New International Treatment Guidelines for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. The meeting will take place in Barcelona, Spain, as well as virtually over Zoom, on Wednesday, October 11, 2023.

Registration is free for paid-up ICOCS and OCRN members. To register, please email and specify if you are attending in person or virtually.

If you are not currently an ICOCS member, but would like to attend the meeting, we encourage you to apply for ICOCS membership:

Please visit here for more program details, as well as the guidelines for submitting a poster abstract.

WASAD 2023 Congress – September 11-13, Zurich, Switzerland

ICOCS is pleased to announce our participation at the 2023 WASAD Congress that is taking place in Zurich, Switzerland from September 11-13.

The topic of this year’s Congress is “Dealing with stress and anxiety in a world of chronic crises: What we can learn from translational perspectives”, and covers a variety of mental health disorders related to stress and anxiety, including ADHD, depression, panic disorders, social anxiety disorders, PTSD, OCD, cognitive dysfunctions and others. The Congress features talks given by several keynote speakers, including the ICOCS secretary, Naomi Fineberg, and ICOCS co-chair, Eric Hollander.

A message from Congress coordinator and ICOCS co-chair, Prof. Susanne Walitza:

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen  

This year the “World Association for Stress related and Anxiety Disorders” (WASAD) is holding its conference in Zurich (Switzerland) on September 11-13, 2023 together with the annual conference of the Swiss Society for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders (SGZ).  

The International College of Obsessive Compulsive Disorders (ICOCS) will also join the conference, making this the first time that WASAD, ICOCS and SGZ will hold a joint event on September 13, 2023 and allowing ICOCS to support a national society for obsessive-compulsive disorders.  

Conference Highlights: 

Prof. Naomi Fineberg heads the Center for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders at the University of Hertfordshire (UK) and was very much involved in the Nice Guidelines for the Treatment of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders. She will talk about “links between Pathological Media Use and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder”.  

Prof. Eric Hollander, Director of Research on Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders and Autism at the Albert Einstein Institute in New-York (USA) and a member of the DSM-5 Steering Group on Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders, will present “inflexible thinking in autism spectrum disorders across the lifespan”. 

Prof. Stefano Pallanti, Professor at the Albert Einstein Institute in New-York (USA) and at the Imperial College London (UK), will discuss the “evidence of PANDAS” (Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders associated with Streptococcal Infections).  

In the afternoon, there will be parallel practical in-depth workshops on different topics.  

In addition, the entire WASAD conference from September 11-13, 2023, offers the opportunity to exchange information about the latest research on stress, stress management, and anxiety disorders. 

 We think this is also very helpful in coping with obsessive-compulsive disorder. Internationally renowned experts, societies, and institutions will present new findings and invite you all to share, interact and discuss. 

More information about the Congress, as well as registration details and how to submit a poster, can be found at the WASAD Congress website:

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 to register.