Naomi A Fineberg

University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, England, United Kingdom

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Publications (131)618.98 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine the neural correlates of excessive habit formation in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). The authors aimed to test for neurobiological convergence with the known pathophysiology of OCD and to infer, based on abnormalities in brain activation, whether these habits arise from dysfunction in the goal-directed or habit system. Method: Thirty-seven OCD patients and 33 healthy comparison subjects learned to avoid shocks while undergoing a functional MRI scan. Following four blocks of training, the authors tested whether the avoidance response had become a habit by removing the threat of shock and measuring continued avoidance. Task-related differences in brain activity in three regions of interest (the caudate, the putamen, and the medial orbitofrontal cortex) were tested at a statistical threshold set at <0.05 (family-wise-error corrected). Results: Excessive habit formation in OCD patients, which was associated with hyperactivation in the caudate, was observed. Activation in this region was also associated with subjective ratings of increased urge to perform habits. The OCD group, as a whole, showed hyperactivation in the medial orbitofrontal cortex during the acquisition of avoidance; however, this did not relate directly to habit formation. Conclusions: OCD patients exhibited excessive habits that were associated with hyperactivation in a key region implicated in the pathophysiology of OCD, the caudate nucleus. Previous studies indicate that this region is important for goal-directed behavior, suggesting that habit-forming biases in OCD may be a result of impairments in this system, rather than differences in the buildup of stimulus-response habits themselves.
    American Journal of Psychiatry 12/2014; · 13.56 Impact Factor
  • European Neuropsychopharmacology 10/2014; 24:S122–S123. · 5.40 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is often associated with significant psychiatric comorbidity. Comorbid disorders include mood and anxiety disorders as well as obsessive-compulsive spectrum disorders (OCSDs). This paper aims to investigate comorbidity of DSM Axis I-disorders, including OCSDs, in patients with OCD from 10 centers affiliated with the International College of Obsessive-Compulsive Spectrum Disorders (ICOCS).
    Comprehensive psychiatry. 06/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Background / Purpose: Depression is often unrecognized and undertreated in patients with chronic medical illness leading to negative outcomes. Recognition of depression is poor in patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) because symptoms of depression overlap with those of uraemia. Depressive symptoms in ESRD may negatively affect general health awareness, mortality rate, treatment adherence and inpatient hospitalisation. It is therefore an important health issue in this population. Main conclusion: Antidepressants are commonly prescribed. beck depression inventory (BDI-II) score was high despite antidepressant in a substantial proportion of patients. BDI-II screen positive patients receiving antidepressants appear to be more depressed, and younger than their untreated counterparts. This questions the role of antidepressants in this population.
    7th Biennial Congress of The International Society of Affective Disorders 2014; 06/2014
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    World psychiatry: official journal of the World Psychiatric Association (WPA) 06/2014; 13(2):125-7. · 12.85 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Why do we repeat choices that we know are bad for us? Decision making is characterized by the parallel engagement of two distinct systems, goal-directed and habitual, thought to arise from two computational learning mechanisms, model-based and model-free. The habitual system is a candidate source of pathological fixedness. Using a decision task that measures the contribution to learning of either mechanism, we show a bias towards model-free (habit) acquisition in disorders involving both natural (binge eating) and artificial (methamphetamine) rewards, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. This favoring of model-free learning may underlie the repetitive behaviors that ultimately dominate in these disorders. Further, we show that the habit formation bias is associated with lower gray matter volumes in caudate and medial orbitofrontal cortex. Our findings suggest that the dysfunction in a common neurocomputational mechanism may underlie diverse disorders involving compulsion.Molecular Psychiatry advance online publication, 20 May 2014; doi:10.1038/mp.2014.44.
    Molecular Psychiatry 05/2014; · 15.15 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This revision of the 2005 British Association for Psychopharmacology guidelines for the evidence-based pharmacological treatment of anxiety disorders provides an update on key steps in diagnosis and clinical management, including recognition, acute treatment, longer-term treatment, combination treatment, and further approaches for patients who have not responded to first-line interventions. A consensus meeting involving international experts in anxiety disorders reviewed the main subject areas and considered the strength of supporting evidence and its clinical implications. The guidelines are based on available evidence, were constructed after extensive feedback from participants, and are presented as recommendations to aid clinical decision-making in primary, secondary and tertiary medical care. They may also serve as a source of information for patients, their carers, and medicines management and formulary committees.
    Journal of Psychopharmacology 04/2014; · 2.81 Impact Factor
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    Natalie L Cuzen, Naomi A Fineberg, Dan J Stein
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    ABSTRACT: It may be useful to consider the application of Huang & Bargh's (H&B's) theory of unconscious motivational processes to psychopathology. In disorders of compulsivity and impulsivity, an unconscious habit system may play a key role in explaining ego-dystonic or self-destructive behaviour. H&B's theory may provide some insights into understanding conditions such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and drug addiction; however, additional work is needed to address the neurocircuitry and neurochemistry mediating their abnormal underlying motivational processes.
    Behavioral and Brain Sciences 04/2014; 37(2):141. · 14.96 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: There is disagreement regarding the role of perceived control in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). The present study used a traditional illusion of control paradigm (Alloy and Abramson, 1979) to empirically test control estimation in OCD. Twenty-six OCD patients and 26 matched comparison subjects completed an illusion of control task wherein their goal was to attempt to exert control over a light bulb. The density of reinforcement (high, low) and the valence of trials (gain, loss) were experimentally manipulated within subjects. Unbeknownst to participants, the illumination of the light bulb was predetermined and irrespective of their behavior. OCD patients exhibited lower estimates of control compared with healthy comparison subjects. There were no interactions between group and outcome density or group and valence. We found that OCD patients endorse lower estimates of control than comparison subjects. This finding highlights a potential role for contingency learning in the disorder.
    Frontiers in Psychology 03/2014; 5:204. · 2.80 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Impulsivity and compulsivity represent useful conceptualizations that involve dissociable cognitive functions, which are mediated by neuroanatomically and neurochemically distinct components of cortico-subcortical circuitry. The constructs were historically viewed as diametrically opposed, with impulsivity being associated with risk-seeking and compulsivity with harm-avoidance. However, they are increasingly recognized to be linked by shared neuropsychological mechanisms involving dysfunctional inhibition of thoughts and behaviors. In this article, we selectively review new developments in the investigation of the neurocognition of impulsivity and compulsivity in humans, in order to advance our understanding of the pathophysiology of impulsive, compulsive, and addictive disorders and indicate new directions for research.
    CNS spectrums 02/2014; 19(1):69-89. · 1.30 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Objective:It is unknown what next-step strategies are being used in clinical practice for patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) who do not respond to first-line treatment. As part of a cross-sectional study of OCD, treatment and symptom information was collected.Method:Consecutive OCD out-patients in nine international centers were evaluated by self-report measures and clinical/structured interviews. OCD symptom severity was evaluated by the Yale Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale (YBOCS) and Clinical Global Impression-Severity Scale (CGI-S). Clinical response to current treatment was evaluated by the CGI-Improvement Scale (CGI-I ≤ 2).Results:In total, 361 participants reported taking medication; 77.6% were taking a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor; 50% reported use of at least one augmentation strategy. Antipsychotics were most often prescribed as augmenters (30.3%), followed by benzodiazepines (24.9%) and antidepressants (21.9%). No differences in OCD symptom severity were found between patients taking different classes of augmentation agents.Conclusions:Results from this international cross-sectional study indicate that current OCD treatment is in line with evidence-based treatment guidelines. Although augmentation strategies are widely used, no significant differences in OCD symptom severity were found between monotherapy and augmentation or between different therapeutic agents.
    Journal of Psychopharmacology 01/2014; · 2.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and substance use disorder share several aspects of phenomenology and may be underpinned by a common mechanism with compulsivity at the core. Despite this overlap, the two disorders show a variable pattern of comorbidity. Here, we review the current evidence for comorbidity across clinical and epidemiological studies, and propose a new heuristic for substance use comorbidity in OCD, based on a hypothetical threshold of OCD severity. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
    Human Psychopharmacology Clinical and Experimental 01/2014; 29(1):89-93. · 2.10 Impact Factor
  • N. Fineberg, S. Reghunandanan, A. Brown
    European Psychiatry 01/2014; 29:1. · 3.21 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD) is an early-onset disorder characterized by perfectionism, need for control, and cognitive rigidity. Its nosological status is currently under review. Historically, OCPD has been conceptualized as bearing a close relationship with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). In this article, we discuss the diagnosis of OCPD in anticipation of its review for the ICD-11, from the perspective of clinical utility, global applicability, and research planning. Considering the recent establishment of an obsessive-compulsive and related disorders (OCRD) category in DSM-5, we focus on the relationship between OCPD and the disorders that are currently thought to bear a close relationship with OCD, including DSM-5 OCRD, and other compulsive disorders such as eating disorder and autistic spectrum disorder (that were not included in the DSM-5 OCRD category), as well as with the personality disorders, focusing on nosological determinants such as phenomenology, course of illness, heritability, environmental risk factors, comorbidity, neurocognitive endophenotypes, and treatment response. Based on this analysis, we attempt to draw conclusions as to its optimal placement in diagnostic systems and draw attention to key research questions that could be explored in field trials.
    Revista Brasileira de Psiquiatria 01/2014; 36 Suppl 1:40-50. · 1.64 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Hoarding disorder is a new mental disorder in DSM-5. It is classified alongside OCD and other presumably related disorders in the Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders chapter. We examined cognitive performance in two distinct groups comprising individuals with both OCD and severe hoarding, and individuals with hoarding disorder without comorbid OCD. Participants completed executive function tasks assessing inhibitory control, cognitive flexibility, spatial planning, probabilistic learning and reversal and decision making. Compared to a matched healthy control group, OCD hoarders showed significantly worse performance on measures of response inhibition, set shifting, spatial planning, probabilistic learning and reversal, with intact decision making. Despite having a strikingly different clinical presentation, individuals with only hoarding disorder did not differ significantly from OCD hoarders on any cognitive measure suggesting the two hoarding groups have a similar pattern of cognitive difficulties. Tests of cognitive flexibility were least similar across the groups, but differences were small and potentially reflected subtle variation in underlying brain pathology together with psychometric limitations. These results highlight both commonalities and potential differences between OCD and hoarding disorder, and together with other lines of evidence, support the inclusion of the new disorder within the new Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders chapter in DSM-5.
    Psychiatry research. 12/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: Trichotillomania (TTM) (hair-pulling disorder) is a prevalent and disabling disorder characterised by recurrent hair-pulling. The effect of medication on trichotillomania has not been systematically evaluated. To assess the effects of medication for trichotillomania in adults compared with placebo or other active agents. We searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials and the Cochrane Depression, Anxiety and Neurosis Group Register (to 31 July 2013), which includes relevant randomised controlled trials from the following bibliographic databases: The Cochrane Library (all years); EMBASE (1974 to date); MEDLINE (1950 to date) and PsycINFO (1967 to date). Two review authors identified relevant trials by assessing the abstracts of all possible studies. We selected randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of a medication versus placebo or active agent for TTM in adults. Two review authors independently performed the data extraction and 'Risk of bias' assessments, and disagreements were resolved through discussion with a third review author. Primary outcomes included the mean difference (MD) in reduction of trichotillomania symptoms on a continuous measure of trichotillomania symptom severity, and the risk ratio (RR) of the clinical response based on a dichotomous measure, with 95% confidence intervals (CIs). We identified eight studies with a total of 204 participants and a mean sample size of 25. All trials were single-centre trials, and participants seen on an outpatient basis. Seven studies compared medication and placebo (n = 184); one study compared medication and another active agent (n = 13). Duration of the studies was six to twelve weeks. Meta-analysis was not undertaken because of the methodological heterogeneity of the trials. The studies did not employ intention-to-treat analyses and were at a high risk of attrition bias. Adverse events were not well-documented in the studies.None of the three studies of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) demonstrated strong evidence of a treatment effect on any of the outcomes of interest. The unpublished naltrexone study did not provide strong evidence of a treatment effect. Two studies, an olanzapine study and a N-acetylcysteine (NAC) study, reported statistically significant treatment effects. One study of clomipramine demonstrated a treatment effect on two out of three measures of response to treatment. No particular medication class definitively demonstrates efficacy in the treatment of trichotillomania. Preliminary evidence suggests treatment effects of clomipramine, NAC and olanzapine based on three individual trials, albeit with very small sample sizes.
    Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online) 11/2013; 11:CD007662. · 5.94 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Whether Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is associated with an increased attentional bias to emotive stimuli remains controversial. Additionally, it is unclear whether comorbid depression modulates abnormal emotional processing in OCD. This study examined attentional bias to OC-relevant scenes using a visual search task. Controls, non-depressed and depressed OCD patients searched for their personally selected positive images amongst their negative distractors, and vice versa. Whilst the OCD groups were slower than healthy individuals in rating the images, there were no group differences in the magnitude of negative bias to concern-related scenes. A second experiment employing a common set of images replicated the results on an additional sample of OCD patients. Although there was a larger bias to negative OC-related images without pre-exposure overall, no group differences in attentional bias were observed. However, OCD patients subsequently rated the images more slowly and more negatively, again suggesting post-attentional processing abnormalities. The results argue against a robust attentional bias in OCD patients, regardless of their depression status and speak to generalized difficulties disengaging from negative valence stimuli. Rather, post-attentional processing abnormalities may account for differences in emotional processing in OCD.
    PLoS ONE 11/2013; 8(11):e80118. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and related conditions (trichotillomania, pathological skin-picking, pathological nail-biting) are common and disabling. Current treatment approaches fail to help a significant proportion of patients. Multiple tiers of evidence link these conditions with underlying dysregulation of particular cortico-subcortical circuitry and monoamine systems, which represent targets for treatment. Animal models designed to capture aspects of these conditions are critical for several reasons. First, they help in furthering our understanding of neuroanatomical and neurochemical underpinnings of the obsessive-compulsive (OC) spectrum. Second, they help to account for the brain mechanisms by which existing treatments (pharmacotherapy, psychotherapy, deep brain stimulation) exert their beneficial effects on patients. Third, they inform the search for novel treatments. This article provides a critique of key animal models for selected OC spectrum disorders, beginning with initial work relating to anxiety, but moving on to recent developments in domains of genetic, pharmacological, cognitive, and ethological models. We find that there is a burgeoning literature in these areas with important ramifications, which are considered, along with salient future lines of research.
    CNS spectrums 10/2013; · 1.30 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Aim:The aim of this paper is to increase awareness of the prevalence and cost of psychiatric and neurological disorders (brain disorders) in the UK.Method:UK data for 18 brain disorders were extracted from a systematic review of European epidemiological data and prevalence rates and the costs of each disorder were summarized (2010 values).Results:There were approximately 45 million cases of brain disorders in the UK, with a cost of €134 billion per annum. The most prevalent were headache, anxiety disorders, sleep disorders, mood disorders and somatoform disorders. However, the five most costly disorders (€ million) were: dementia: €22,164; psychotic disorders: €16,717; mood disorders: €19,238; addiction: €11,719; anxiety disorders: €11,687. Apart from psychosis, these five disorders ranked amongst those with the lowest direct medical expenditure per subject (<€3000). The approximate breakdown of costs was: 50% indirect costs, 25% direct non-medical and 25% direct healthcare costs.Discussion:The prevalence and cost of UK brain disorders is likely to increase given the ageing population. Translational neurosciences research has the potential to develop more effective treatments but is underfunded. Addressing the clinical and economic challenges posed by brain disorders requires a coordinated effort at an EU and national level to transform the current scientific, healthcare and educational agenda.
    Journal of Psychopharmacology 07/2013; · 2.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Resolving the entangled nosological dilemma of whether obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) with and without schizophrenia (schizo-OCD and OCD, respectively) are two independent entities or whether schizo-OCD is a combined product of its parent disorders. Studying motor activity in OCD and in schizo-OCD patients. Performance of the patients was compared with the performance of the same motor task by a matching control individual. Behavior in both schizo-OCD and OCD patients differed from controls in the excessive repetition and addition of acts, thus validating an identical OC facet. However, there was a significant difference in spatial behavior. Schizo-OCD patients traveled over a greater area with less focused activity as typical to schizophrenia patients and in contrast to OCD patients, who were more focused and traveled less in a confined area. While schizo-OCD and OCD patients share most of the OC ritualistic attributes, they differ in the greater spread of activity in schizo-OCD, which is related to schizophrenia disorder. Discussion It is suggested that the finding on difference in spatial behavior is a reflection of the mental differences between OCD and schizophrenia. In other words, this could be an overt and observable manifestation of the mental state, and therefore may facilitate the nosology of OC spectrum disorders and OCD. It seems as if both the OCD patients' focus on specific thoughts, and the contrasting wandering thoughts of schizophrenia patients, are reflected in the focused activity of the former and wandering from one place to the next of the latter.
    CNS spectrums 07/2013; · 1.30 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

3k Citations
618.98 Total Impact Points


  • 2006–2014
    • University of Hertfordshire
      • • Department of Psychology
      • • Department of Postgraduate Medicine
      Hatfield, England, United Kingdom
    • King's College London
      • Institute of Psychiatry
      Londinium, England, United Kingdom
    • University of Cape Town
      • Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health
      Cape Town, Province of the Western Cape, South Africa
  • 2003–2014
    • Hertfordshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
      St Albans, England, United Kingdom
  • 2013
    • University of British Columbia - Vancouver
      • Department of Psychiatry
      Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  • 2010–2013
    • Tel Aviv University
      • Department of Zoology
      Tel Aviv, Tel Aviv, Israel
    • University of Southampton
      • Division of Clinical Neuroscience
      Southampton, ENG, United Kingdom
  • 2005–2013
    • The Queen Elizabeth Hospital
      Tarndarnya, South Australia, Australia
    • University of Cambridge
      • • Behavioural and Clinical Neurosciences Institute (BCNI)
      • • Department of Psychiatry
      Cambridge, England, United Kingdom
  • 2012
    • Stellenbosch University
      • Department of Psychiatry
      Stellenbosch, Province of the Western Cape, South Africa
  • 2009
    • University of Florence
      • Dipartimento di Neuroscienze, Psicologia, Area del Farmaco e Salute del Bambino
      Florence, Tuscany, Italy