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Phobia clinical trials at UCLA

1 in progress, 0 open to eligible people

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  • Unconscious Reduction of Fear Through Decoded Neuro-Reinforcement

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    This application investigates the efficacy of a novel method of neuro-reinforcement based on decoded fMRI activity to reduce fear responses in individuals with phobias (e.g., spiders, snakes). This method works unconsciously in the brain, without the need for participants to endure repeated conscious exposures to their feared stimuli. Fear-related disorders such as specific phobia, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other anxiety disorders present a major challenge, as effective treatment options usually involve repeated exposures to feared stimuli, leading to high levels of distress, fear, and panic that can motivate premature treatment termination. Consequently, there is an unmet need for treatment that minimizes subjective discomfort and attrition in order to maximize efficacy. Recent developments in computational neuroimaging have enabled a method that can deliver unconscious exposure to feared stimuli, resulting in effective fear reduction while bypassing a primary cause of treatment attrition. Because this treatment method happens unconsciously in the brain, changes in behavior outcomes are potentially more likely to generalize to different contexts, thereby overcoming a limitation of traditional treatments.

    Los Angeles, California

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