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Working towards better health – with research

Posted Wed 22nd May 2019 at 10:39
by Ashley Curry

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I have been working with Tourettes Action to share my experience of living with TS, which can coexist with OCD. I joined a study investigating how changes in the brain explain the clinical features of TS.

I had obsessive compulsive disorder (ocd) up to age of 35, and once diagnosed I went on to make a full recovery. Since then I have been engaged with important research into ocd working alongside leading professionals and researchers, especially focusing on perinatal ocd in mums and dads. I’ve also been involved in projects with the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Cambridge, which partners with CPFT to deliver groundbreaking research alongside clinical care.

Over the last three years, I have been sharing my lived experience of ocd, overseeing the design of studies and shaping future research, and providing advice and guidance regarding ethics and validity. I have really found it very interesting, especially seeing the end results and outcomes.

Most recently, I have been working with the charity Tourette’s Action to share my experience of living with Tourette’s syndrome, which can coexist with ocd. I joined a study investigating how changes in the brain explain the clinical features of Tourette’s. Understanding the mechanisms behind all the tics and urges and why the symptoms vary in severity across patients- affecting movement and inhibition, is essential to manage it effectively.

I travelled down to London to discuss my symptoms with the research team, complete some cognitive tasks and measure changes in my nervous system with transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) – using magnetic pulses to make your muscles twitch, which isn’t as uncomfortable as it sounds! We had some great conversations before the research tasks about how my Tourette’s manifests itself, what the research was hoping to discover, and the process was explained well so I knew what to expect as a participant. It was an enjoyable day, and brilliant to be part of research helping to make the future brighter for people living with Tourette’s syndrome. Find out more about the study and my experience here.

Research is important to me and it can make big differences to those that do suffer, and hopefully we can work towards better health outcomes.

Being involved in research has been a great journey so far, and it is something that I’ve found very rewarding. If you are thinking about being part of research, please do – it is very worthwhile, you meet some wonderful people and learn so much!

Follow Ash on Twitter @AshCurryocd

Pledge to be part of research for International Clinical Trials Day 2019.


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