This study proposes to use PET scans and MRI assessment scans to look at brain structure and brain activity in BDD patients, so as to identify normal and abnormal patterns, and to determine how these patterns change with treatment. This study will also examine cognitive functioning (mental processing skills) to see if and how these skills change with treatment. Abnormal patterns of brain activity have been found in previous studies of patients with mental and nervous system disorders. These abnormalities have been found to improve with response to treatment. These studies will be helpful in understanding nervous system and mental disorders and may benefit future patients.

University of California, San Diego
Principal Investigator
Sanjaya Saxena, MD
Eligibility Criteria
  • Subjects who meet DSM-IV criteria for a primary diagnosis of BDD
  • No history of major Axis I psychiatric illness
  • Ages 18-65
  • Free of all psychotropic medications for at least 3 weeks (and at least 5 weeks for long half-life medications such as fluoxetine) prior to initiating the study
  • BDD-YBOCS scores must be over 18, a level considered clinically significant
  • HAM-D scores must be under 15 (on the first 17 items) in order to rule out depression symptoms that might meet criteria for a current major depressive episode
  • Considered clinically appropriate for primary treatment with a SRI medication by the study physician
  • Fluent in English for neuropsychological testing and competent to sign informed consent
Exclusion Criteria
  • Patients with comorbid BDD and OCD as well subjects with other current major Axis I psychiatric disorders or severe personality disorders
  • Subjects who weigh more than 280 lbs. because the PET and the MRI scanners cannot safely take people over that weight
  • Active medical conditions which would affect cerebral metabolism and function (i.e., endocrine disorders, cerebrovascular disease, neurological diseases, diabetes mellitus, etc.)
  • Persons taking any medication which cross the blood-brain barrier and is known to affect cerebral function (e.g., anti-hypertensives, thyroid supplements, oral corticosteroids, etc.)
  • Persons with a past history of head injury that involved loss of consciousness, neurological disease, or prior substance abuse/dependence
  • People with certain metal implants in their bodies, including infusion pumps, aneurysm clips, metal prosthesis, joints, rods, plates, etc.
  • Women who are pregnant or lactating
Jennifer Sumner, PhD, (858) 534-8056 or
San Diego, CA