Identifying the Optimal Neural Target for Misophonia Interventions
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT04348591
Recruitment Status : Not yet recruiting
First Posted : April 16, 2020
Last Update Posted : August 25, 2020
See Contacts and Locations
Misophonia Research Fund
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Misophonia, the inability to tolerate certain repetitive aversive sounds that are common, is gaining recognition as a debilitating condition. It is not a well-understood condition and there are no known treatments. Up to one in five people report moderate or higher misophonia symptoms; nevertheless, resources aimed at understanding and treating this problem are scarce. In order to align misophonia research with the priorities of large funding agencies such as the National Institute of Mental Health, the investigators propose a novel study aimed at separating misophonic distress from other types of emotional distress. The investigators plan to examine changes in brain activation during presentation and regulation of misophonic versus distressing sounds. Emergent neural networks that may be involved in misophonia will then be tested in the lab with the use of noninvasive neurostimulation, a novel tool that can enhance or inhibit activation in a targeted brain region. The investigators plan to modulate activation in key areas of the misophonia brain circuitry with the aim to identify the optimal neural target for misophonia interventions. Our multidisciplinary team at the Duke Center for Misophonia and Emotion Regulation brings together experts in misophonia, neuroscience, neuromodulation, neurology, and biostatistics who share the long-term goal of developing and refining an intervention for this condition in an environment that is optimal to conduct the proposed research.
The investigators propose to recruit adults who self-report significant misophonia symptoms and adults who meet criteria for a current psychiatric disorder and who self-report difficulties calming down when upset. All participants will undergo a brain imaging session during which misophonic cues; distressing, non-misophonic cues; or neutral cues will be presented. Participants will then be asked to experience, or attempt to downregulate emotions associated with these cues. Based on the imaging results, two personalized neurostimulation targets will be identified: (1) the region in the frontal cortex with the most activity during the downregulation of misophonic versus neutral sounds and (2) the prefrontal region with the strongest functional connectivity to the anterior insular cortex (AIC), a brain region previously identified to be critical for misophonic distress. Participants will receive real or sham neurostimulation over the prefrontal cortex and insula in a random order, while engaging in listening to versus downregulating misophonic, aversive, or neutral cues. The investigators plan to assess emotional dysregulation, psychopathology, and misophonia with a multi-method battery of measures during all three study appointments. Feasibility and acceptability will be examined qualitatively. The investigators will use results from this study to design larger trials and to seek federal funding with the ultimate goal of designing an effective misophonia intervention. If successful, our study can be the first step in a series of investigations that establish the unique targets for neural intervention for misophonia.
Condition or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
Behavioral: Cognitive Restructuring
Consistent with NIMH strategic priorities, neural targets that account for individual differences are needed for the next generation of mental health interventions. Misophonia, the inability to tolerate certain aversive repetitive and common sounds, is gaining rapid recognition as a debilitating condition that is not currently well understood and for which interventions do not yet exist. In order to align research efforts to understand and treat misophonia with NIMH priorities, the investigators propose to conduct an experimental study that differentiates the neural circuitry of misophonia-induced distress from other types of emotional distress, and that begins to identify the optimal neural target for possible interventions. Noninvasive neurostimulation (i.e., the purposeful modulation of neural circuitry), such as repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS), is a powerful tool which can modulate neuronal activation and can be used to examine the responsiveness of neural circuits to intervention. Therefore, for this project, the investigators bring together a multidisciplinary team of researchers with expertise in misophonia, neuroscience, neuromodulation, biostatistics, and neurology with the aims to: (1) differentiate the brain circuitry dysfunction in misophonia compared to non-misophonia emotional distress and (2) identify the optimal intervention target for changing misophonic distress using rTMS. The investigators propose to recruit adults who self-report significant misophonia symptoms and a comparison group of adults who meet criteria for a current psychiatric disorder and who self-report high emotional dysregulation. Those who have contra-indications for MRI or rTMS will be excluded. All participants will undergo an MRI session during which misophonic cues; aversive, non-misophonic cues; or neutral cues will be presented. Participants will be asked to listen only or listen and attempt to downregulate emotions associated with these cues. Functional MRI (fMRI) analysis will then be performed to define two personalized neurostimulation targets defined as the region in the frontal cortex that is the most (1) activated during emotion regulation and (2) connected to the anterior insular cortex (AIC) during emotional experiencing. Participants will be assigned to receive active or sham neurostimulation over target 1 and target 2 in a random order, while engaged in listening to versus downregulating misophonic, aversive, or neutral cues. The investigators plan to employ excitatory neuromodulation to examine the effects of enhancing prefrontal cortex activation during emotion regulation. The investigators also plan to employ inhibitory neuromodulation to examine the effects of inhibiting AIC activation during listening only without efforts to regulate emotional distress. The investigators plan to assess emotional dysregulation, psychopathology, and misophonia with a multi-method battery of measures during all three study appointments. Feasibility and acceptability will be examined qualitatively. The investigators will use results from this study to design larger trials and to seek federal funding with the ultimate goal of designing an effective misophonia intervention. If successful, our study can be the first step in a series of investigations that establish the unique targets for neural intervention for misophonia.
Study Type : Interventional (Clinical Trial)
Estimated Enrollment : 60 participants
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Intervention Model Description: The investigators plan to compare adults who report misophonia with adults who report clinical emotional dysregulation in their neurobiological response to misophonic, aversive, and neutral sounds
Masking: Double (Participant, Investigator)
Masking Description: All participants will undergo different types of neurostimulation to probe different areas of the emotion regulation and misophonic networks while being exposed to sounds. One of these neurostimulation blocks will involve sham (inactive) neurostimulation. The investigator and the participants will be blind to which block has active and which block has sham neurostimulation
Primary Purpose: Basic Science
Official Title: Identifying the Optimal Neural Target for Misophonia Interventions
Estimated Study Start Date : September 15, 2020
Estimated Primary Completion Date : May 1, 2022
Estimated Study Completion Date : May 1, 2022