Publication: Nature

Baland Jalal, Annette Brühl, Claire O’Callaghan, Thomas Piercy, Rudolf N. Cardinal, Vilayanur S. Ramachandran and Barbara J. Sahakian


A ‘brain training’ app could help people who suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) manage their symptoms, which may typically include excessive handwashing and contamination fears.

One of the most common types of OCD, affecting up to 46% of OCD patients, is characterised by severe contamination fears and excessive washing behaviour. Excessive washing can be harmful as sometimes OCD patients use spirits, surface cleansers or even bleach to clean their hands. The behaviours can have a serious impact on people’s lives, their mental health, their relationships and their ability to hold down jobs.

Cambridge researchers developed a new treatment to help people with contamination fears and excessive washing. The intervention, which can be delivered through a smartphone app, involves patients watching videos of themselves washing their hands or touching fake contaminated surfaces. Read the full story here

View publication

Publication: PLoS One

Fernandez-Egea E, Vertes P.E, Flint S.M, Turner L, Mustafa S, Hatton A, Smith K.G.C, Lyons P.A. and Bullmore E.T 2016; 11:e0155631

View publication

Publication: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Whitaker, K.J., Vértes, P.E., Romero-Garcia, R., Váša, F., Moutoussis, M., Prabhu, G., Weiskopf, N., Callaghan, M.F., Wagstyl, K., Rittman, T., Tait, R., Suckling, J., Ooi, C., Inkster, B., Fonagy, P., Dolan, R., Goodyer, I.M., Jones, P.B., the NSPN Consortium, Bullmore, E.T. 2016 , 113(32), pp.9105-9110.

View publication

Publication: Molecular Psychiatry

Kappelmann, N., Lewis, G., Dantzer, R., Jones, P.B. and Khandaker, G.M., 2016 Oct 18. doi: 10.1038/mp.2016.167

View publication


Ersche, K.D., Gillan, C.M., Jones, P.S., Williams, G.B., Ward, L.H., Luijten, M., de Wit, S., Sahakian, B.J., Bullmore, E.T. and Robbins, T.W., 2016.. Science, 352(6292), pp.1468-1471.

View publication