Explore This Research Program

Overview

We provide opportunities for children with and without PANDAS and OCD to participate in research. The goal of our research is to better understand neuropsychiatric disorders in children, especially P.A.N.D.A.S. and OCD, to inform and improve treatment. Please consider reaching out to us to see if you or your child may qualify.

Vision:

To improve understanding of the etiology and most effective treatments of pediatric neuropsychiatric immune conditions through our integrated clinic and research program.

Mission Statement:

Our interdisciplinary team engages in cutting edge research to inform evidence-based care for children with neuropsychiatric conditions.

Current Research Projects

Healthy Children wanted for one-visit MRI research study

PI: Kyle A. Williams, MD, PhD

The Pediatric Neuropsychiatry and Immunology Clinic at Massachusetts General Hospital is looking for healthy children aged 7-15 years to participate in a single-visit MRI study. This study investigates the role of neuroinflammation in the development of PANDAS/PANS. Participants will come in for a single visit lasting approximately 2-3 hours at the Martinos Imaging. The participant will receive a 45 minute MRI and undergo some brief neuropsychological examinations. Subjects will be reimbursed $50 for their participation.

If you and your child are interested in participating, contact our study coordinator: 617-726-8508, pandasclinic@partners.org

Children with PANDAS wanted for clinical trial

PI: Kyle A. Williams, MD, PhD
Study Contact: Sarah O'Dor (617-643-6688, pandasclinic@partners.org)

Study Description: The Pediatric Neuropsychiatry and Immunology Clinic at Massachusetts General Hospital is looking for children aged 6-15 years to participate in a clinical trial. This study evaluates the efficacy of naproxen sodium to treat OCD symptoms in patients with suspected or diagnosed Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder Associated with Streptococcal infections (PANDAS). Participants will come in for up to 4 visits lasting 1.5-3 hours at the Simches Research Building or One Bowdoin Sq. Participants will receive 8 weeks of either naproxen sodium or placebo. The participant will undergo two blood draws, urine samples, and fecal samples as well as questionnaires and physical and psychiatric exams. Compensation ($50) and parking reimbursement will be provided.

Children with OCD Wanted for a Research Imaging Study

PI: Kyle A. Williams, MD, PhD

The Pediatric Neuropsychiatry and Immunology Clinic at Massachusetts General Hospital is looking for children with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) aged 6-17 to participate in a single-visit MRI study. This study investigates the role of neuroinflammation in contracting PANDAS/PANS. Participants will come in for a single visit that should last 2-3 hours wherein the participant will receive a 45 minute MRI and undergo some brief neuropsychological examinations. Subjects will be reimbursed for their participation.

If you and your child are interested in participating, contact our study coordinator: 617-726-8508, pandasclinic@partners.org

Investigating microglial activation in movement and compulsive disorders using MR-PET

Are you a healthy adult between 18 and 40 years old? You may be eligible for a Massachusetts General Hospital research study investigating the structure and function of the brain of adults with and without movement and compulsive disorders using MR-PET scans. The study includes one screening visit and one scanning visits at the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging. Eligible participants will be compensated up to $200 for their time.

For more information, please contact Hooker Research Group staff at: 617-643-7811 OR imagingstudy@harvard.edu)

Is there a connection between movement and compulsive disorders and neuroinflammation in the brain?

Are you a healthy adult between 18 and 40 years old? The Massachusetts General Hospital is currently recruiting for a new research study that will use a MR-PET scanner to examine the brains of adults with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder or Tourette Syndrome. The study will include two visits at the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging. Participants will be compensated up to $200 for their time. Participants must be: - Between the ages of 18 and 40 years old - Diagnosed with either OCD or TS

For more information, please contact Hooker Research Group staff at: 617-643-7811 OR imagingstudy@harvard.edu)

Group Members

Meet our teamInvestigators

MGH Collaborators

Research Technicians

    • Noreen Ward

Research Assistants

    • Olivia Downer
    • Gabby Johnson
    • Julia Zagaroli

Publications

Team publications

Frick LR, Rapanelli M, Jindachomthong K, Grant P, Leckman JF, Swedo S, Williams K*, Pittenger C*. Differential binding of antibodies in PANDAS patients to cholinergic interneurons in the striatum. Brain Behav Immun. 2018 Mar;69:304-311. Article.

Williams K. Autoimmunity as a risk factor for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2017 Mar;56(3):185-186.

Leon J, Hommer R, Grant P, Farmer C, D'Souza P, Kessler R, Williams K, Leckman JF, Swedo S. Longitudinal outcomes of children with pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorder associated with streptococcal infections (PANDAS). Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2017 Nov 8. doi: 10.1007/s00787- 017-1077-9.

Thienemann M, Murphy T, Leckman J, Shaw R, Williams K, Kapphahn C, Frankovich J, Geller D, Bernstein G, Chang K, Elia J, Swedo S. Clinical management of Pediatric Acute-Onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome: Part I-Psychiatric and behavioral interventions. J Child Adolesc Psychopharmacol. 2017 Sep;27(7):566-573.

Gaughan T, Buckley A, Hommer R, Grant P, Williams K, Leckman JF, Swedo SE. Rapid eye movement sleep abnormalities in children with Pediatric Acute-Onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome (PANS). J Clin Sleep Med. 2016 Jul 15;12(7):1027-32. Article.

Williams KA, Swedo SE, Farmer CA, Grantz H, Grant PJ, D'Souza P, Hommer R, Katsovich L, King RA, Leckman JF. Randomized, controlled trial of intravenous immunoglobulin for Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal infections. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2016 Oct;55(10):860-867

Toufexis MD, Hommer R, Gerardi DM, Grant P, Rothschild L, D'Souza P, Williams K, Leckman J, Swedo SE, Murphy TK. Disordered eating and food restrictions in children with PANDAS/PANS. J Child Adolesc Psychopharmacol. 2015 Feb;25(1):48-56.

Chang K, Frankovich J, Cooperstock M, Cunningham M, Latimer ME, Murphy TK, Pasternack M, Thienemann M, Williams K, Walter J, Swedo SE. Clinical Evaluation of Youth with Pediatric Acute Onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome (PANS): Recommendations from the 2013 PANS Consensus Conference. J Child Adolesc Psychopharmacol. 2015 Feb;25(1):3-13.

Williams KA, Swedo SE. Post-infectious autoimmune disorders: Sydenham's chorea, PANDAS and beyond. Brain Res. 2014 Oct 7. pii: S0006-8993(14)01344-4.

Williams, KA. Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder Associated with Streptococcus (PANDAS): an update on diagnosis and treatment. CML – Psychiatry 2011;22(3):81-88.