New DP Research at the IoP, London

Depersonalization Research Unit - Kings College, London
Testing a neurobiological model of depersonalization with Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation.

Why are we doing this research?
Depersonalization disorder (DPD) is a poorly understood condition characterised by a chronic, distressing and often incapacitating alteration in the perception or experience of the self. The aim of this project is to refine and test our neuropsychological model of DPD which will open up a translational pathway to neurobiologically informed treatments. Our work has established that DPD is characterized by attenuated skin conductance responses (SCR), which are functionally related to reduced activation in brain areas underpinning affective responses, and by increased activation in prefrontal areas involved in emotion regulation.

What are we doing?
We are testing the hypothesis that DPD stems from dysfunctionally increased fronto-insula/limbic inhibitory regulation. We using MRI-guided repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) in two, contrasting, participant-blind interventions (low and high frequency stimulation) in DPD patients and healthy volunteers. We will measure responses to emotional pictures, both objective – autonomic SCRs, and subjective - self-report arousal ratings, and these will be our co-primary outcomes. We predict that:

1. in DPD patients, low frequency (1 Hz) rTMS induced suppression of prefrontal activity will result in: increased SCRs to arousing pictures (i.e. emotional responses will be released from dysfunctional frontal inhibition) and increased subjective ratings of emotional arousal and reduced symptoms;

2. in healthy volunteers, high frequency (10 Hz) rTMS stimulation will activate the same prefrontal regions which will result in blunted subjective and autonomic responses resembling those of depersonalized patients.

For more information visit this link: Kings College, DP Research Unit, Institute of Psychiatry, London

DP Research Project - Participate!

Depersonalization, Stress, and Hormones
Research Participants Needed!

The Behavioral Endocrinology Laboratory at Hunter College is looking for volunteers with Depersonalization to participate in a study to better understand how stress affects hormone levels. In this study, participants complete questionnaires about their mood and emotions and complete a stress task. Saliva samples are also taken in order to assess hormone levels. This will be a first study in helping to determining whether persons with depersonalization may benefit from hormone treatments.

This study involves 1 visit for 1.5 hours for a clinical evaluation by Dr. Daphne Simeon and another visit for 2 hours of participation in the stress task and saliva samples. Participants receive up to $50 compensation for participation. No treatment will be provided as part of this study. All responses will remain completely confidential.

For more information or to arrange an appointment please contact Kai Monde at 212-650-3838 or kmonde@hunter.cuny.edu