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Arachnophobia clinical trials at UC Health
1 research study open to eligible people

  • TMS and Exposure Therapy

    open to eligible people ages 18 years and up

    Spider phobia is an exceedingly common phobia throughout the world. The current standard treatment involves exposure therapy, which consists of a series of brief exposures of an individual to the thing they fear, in this case spiders. This study aims to examine the use of a neuromodulatory technology, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), as a possible treatment option for spider phobia. TMS uses low-intensity electromagnetic energy to stimulate the brain, introducing energy into critical hubs of brain networks to "reset" their function and alleviate symptoms with very few side-effects. This study will consist of four separate visits. After screening subjects for spider phobia, baseline testing of subjective distress measures and physiologic stress data (heart rate variability and sweat response) during a prolonged spider exposure test will be collected. Subjects will then be placed into one of two groups: one receiving exposure therapy and intermittent Theta Burst Stimulation (iTBS) TMS (active study group), and another receiving exposure therapy with iTBS to a circuit not involved in a phobic reaction (control study group). Subjects will undergo their first treatment session during the first visit following the baseline data collection; the second and third treatments will occur the following two days. The fourth visit will occur one week after the third and consist of the same testing as the first visit; the same data will be collected. Changes from pre- to post-treatment in both subjective and physiologic data will be compared between the treatment and sham groups to examine effects of TMS on spider phobia.

    at UCLA