Treating refractory obsessive-compulsive disorder using real-time functional magnetic resonance imaging

Obsessive compulsive-disorder (OCD) is a chronic psychiatric illness associated with significant morbidity and dysfunction. The therapeutic response to conventional treatments (pharmacotherapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy) is relatively poor compared with that of other mental disorders. Radio and neurosurgical procedures are reserved for severe, treatment-refractory disease that has not responded to treatments. Identifying alternative and non-invasive treatments is a priority. Although the pathophysiology of OCD is unclear, hyperactivity of orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) has been consistently demonstrated. Neurofeedback with real time functional magnetic resonance has been demonstrated as an effective technique to normalize OFC activity in OCD patients. Thus, we propose to investigate the effectiveness of this therapeutic approach in refractory OCD.

Funding Agency

Clinical Academic Center-Braga (2CA-Braga)

Project Reference


Project Members

Main Project Outcomes

S. Queirós, “Right ventricular segmentation in multi-view cardiac MRI using a unified U-net model”, in E. Puyol Antón et al. (eds) Statistical Atlases and Computational Models of the Heart. Multi-Disease, Multi-View, and Multi-Center Right Ventricular Segmentation in Cardiac MRI Challenge. STACOM 2021. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 13131, pp. 287-295, Springer, Cham, 2022.

“Best Paper Award in the M&Ms-2 Challenge”, by M&Ms2 Challenge organizers and the Medical Image Computing and Computer Assisted Intervention (MICCAI) Society.

Main Project Outcomes


Ferreira, S. (2021). Cognitive and emotional regulation in stress and obsessive-compulsive disorder. School of Medicine, University of Minho


Ferreira, S. et al (2019). The efficacy of biofeedback approaches for obsessive-compulsive and related disorders: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Psychiatry Research. 


Ferreira, S., Picó-Pérez, M., Sousa, M., Vieira, R., Morgado, P., Magnetic resonance imaging-based neurofeedback improves obsessive-compulsive symptomatology, ECNP Virtual, 2020 
Ferreira, S., Picó-Pérez, M., Sousa, M., Vieira, R., Morgado, P., A feasibility study of fMRI neurofeedback for treatment-resistant obsessive-compulsive disorder, RT-FIN, Maastricht, The Netherlands, 2019. 

Scientific outreach: 
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