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.

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