Clinical Trials Office

OCD Research Study for Teens 12 to 17 Years Old

What is the purpose of this study?

Cincinnati Children’s is conducting a research study to evaluate whether the use of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) may help children with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) feel less anxious, and to determine what brain areas are activated in a child with OCD using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). TMS involves using a noninvasive hand-held magnet placed gently over the scalp to stimulate brain activity and has been used at Children’s Hospital to study the brain in children as young as six.

Who can participate?

Teenagers 12 to 17 years old who have been diagnosed with OCD may be eligible to participate.


  • From 12 To 17  years old


  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Mental Health
  • Neurology
  • Psychiatry

What is involved?

You and your child will be involved in the research study for approximately five weeks. The study includes a telephone screening and four study visits which will take place at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. The following outlines some of the procedures involved in this study:

Your child will:

  • Complete a questionnaire that will help measure the severity of his/her obsessive and compulsive symptoms
  • Complete diagnostic testing (to aid with his/her diagnosis)
  • Have his/her medical history reviewed
  • Be given two cameras - one to take photos of things or situations that cause him/her anxiety, and the other to take neutral photos which do not have an affect on him/her
  • Provide a urine sample for a urine pregnancy test (if female) to confirm that she is not pregnant
  • Provide a urine sample for a drug screening test
  • Have an fMRI scan which involves being in a scanner for approximately 30 minutes
  • Have a transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) session (30 minutes), with real TMS or sham (simulated) TMS, where he/she will sit in a reclining chair and have a hand-held magnet placed gently over his/her scalp
  • See pictures or photos of things or situations that may make him/her anxious during the fMRI and TMS sessions
  • Complete rating scales of anxiety severity

You will:

  • Be asked to fill out a questionnaire which rates your child’s behavior and symptoms on a scale that screens for any major emotional difficulties
  • Complete diagnostic testing about your child (to aid with his/her diagnosis)
  • Be interviewed about your child’s emotional and behavioral disorders
  • Be asked to bring your child to study visits

What are the benefits?

Your child may not receive any direct medical benefit from participating in this study. It is possible that his/her condition may improve, worsen or remain the same. Your child may feel good that he/she is assisting in furthering our understanding of brain activity and OCD. Also, it is possible that your child’s fMRI may show an unanticipated finding which the study doctor would discuss with you and your child’s primary doctor.

Will I get all the facts about the study?

If you are interested in having your child participate, you will be given a consent form that thoroughly explains all of the details of the study. The form covers all of the procedures, the risks, the benefits, the pay, who to contact with questions or concerns and more. A member of the study staff will review the consent form with you and will be sure that all of your questions are answered. Study procedures will not begin until you have signed this form and your child has given his/her signed assent.

Do participants receive pay, compensation or reimbursement?

Families will be paid for study time and travel.

Who should I contact for more information?

Cathy Meyer, B.S.
Research Assistant
(513) 636-0229
Division of Child Psychiatry
Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center
3333 Burnet Ave.
Cincinnati, OH 45229-3039

Principal Investigator

Elana Harris, MD, PhD
Principal Investigator, Assistant Professor
Division of Child Psychiatry
Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center