Navigation Links
Biofeedback from the zoo
Date:1/27/2009

Almost three percent of all Americans suffer from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). But when do you cross the line between a neurotic compulsion to check your email every five minutes and mental illness?

According to new Tel Aviv University research, the best way to understand and effectively treat OCD is to look at ourselves as though we're animals in a zoo. "We've developed a program that allows us to videotape people that suffer from overt compulsions and compare their behavior to classic displays of neurotic or healthy behavior from the animal kingdom, observed in the wild or in captivity," says Prof. David Eilam from the Department of Zoology at Tel Aviv University.

Studying bears, gazelles, and rats, among other animals, the Tel Aviv University scientists have developed a model to identify and understand abnormal behavior. The model is, in effect, a reference database that gives mental health practitioners a way to classify different behaviors when they observe a patient at the clinic or on video.

A Descriptive Tool Becomes a Treatment Tool

Watching animals in the wild, and then in captivity at Tel Aviv University's Research Zoo, Prof. Eilam noticed that a uniform repetition of motor patterns occurs in wild animals in captivity. He then understood that the rituals performed by animals in captivity could give clues about OCD and unnecessary actions, such as excessive hand washing, performed by humans. "In the wild, animals perform automated routines, not rituals," says Prof. Eilam. "But in captivity, the animals' attention focus is on perseverating rituals, with an explicit emphasis on performance - just like they had OCD."

His research, done in collaboration with Prof. Haggai Hermesh, a psychiatrist from the Sackler School of Medicine at Tel Aviv University and Rama Zor, a Ph.D. student, is now being used as a type of behavioral therapy and as a tool for assessing the efficacy of anti-compulsive treatments. It's the first to connect animal behavior to human OCD, and was recently presented at the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology, one of the most important meetings of neuroscientists and psychiatrists in the world.

Seeing Is Believing

"Patients who previously described their rituals down to the very smallest details can break down crying when they watch their own behavior on video," he says. "It's striking to see: They can't believe how sick they really are, once they notice the large gap between what they've described to us and what they're observing on the screen."

Using video to provide a form of biofeedback, Prof. Eilam's new therapy may motivate patients to correct their compulsive actions. Given the availability and affordability of video cameras, or web cams, Prof. Eilam expects this mode of behavioral therapy to attract interest in the U.S. "OCD is a very severe mental disorder, but most often in America it is still being assessed by way of a simple questionnaire. Instead, we've been looking at people the same way we look at animals. Animals can't speak or complete a questionnaire, so to study their behavior, we videotape them and then analyse their movements."


'/>"/>

Contact: George Hunka
ghunka@aftau.org
212-742-9070
American Friends of Tel Aviv University
Source:Eurekalert

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/6/2017)... Forecasts by Product Type (EAC), ... End-Use (Transportation & Logistics, Government & Public Sector, Utilities ... Generation Facility, Nuclear Power), Industrial, Retail, Business Organisation (BFSI), ... you looking for a definitive report on the $27.9bn ... ...
(Date:4/5/2017)... , April 5, 2017 Today HYPR ... that the server component of the HYPR platform is ... providing the end-to-end security architecture that empowers biometric authentication ... HYPR has already secured over 15 million users across ... manufacturers of connected home product suites and physical access ...
(Date:4/4/2017)... , April 4, 2017   EyeLock LLC ... announced that the United States Patent and Trademark Office ... broadly covers the linking of an iris image with ... transaction) and represents the company,s 45 th issued ... patent is very timely given the multi-modal biometric capabilities ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/20/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... June 20, 2017 , ... ... Linda Robbie, PhD, a well-versed leader with extensive assay development and biomarker expertise, ... Cambridge Biomedical is a Boston CRO specializing in bio-analytical assay development and sample ...
(Date:6/19/2017)... ... June 19, 2017 , ... As Vice President, Product Services, ... training, implementation, support, and client process and SOP development. , Mr. Guinter brings ... leadership roles for service providers and top-tier pharmaceuticals, and as an independent consultant ...
(Date:6/19/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... June 19, 2017 , ... A colony ... among its cells and tissues by delivering pollen and nectar containing nutrients necessary for ... means to stay healthy. , Many recent indicators point to a decline in honey ...
(Date:6/16/2017)... ... , ... CTNext , Connecticut’s go-to resource for entrepreneurial support, today announced ... Chelsea Piers in Stamford. , Nine finalists, all of whom are Connecticut-based companies and ... to secure $10,000 awards to help support business growth. The winners included:, ...
Breaking Biology Technology: