The BFRB Precision Medicine Initiative
Image courtesy of the TLC Foundation for BFRBs
In 2014, theTrichtillomania Learning Center (TLC) Foundation for Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviours, with the help of its TLC scientific advisory board and collaborative partnerships started up the BFRB Precision Medicine Initiative to promote research and understanding around body focused-repetitive behaviors (BFRBs). Knowledge and understanding about BFRBs are, what causes them and how to treat them are sorely lacking. However with the latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual in 2013 including trichotillomania and dermatillomania or compulsive skin picking as disorders clinically recognized as an Obsessive Compulsive and Related Disorder, more and more health professionals and researchers were starting to sit up and take notice. The TLC Foundation for BFRBs (formerly known just as the TLC) has been a leading voice in advocacy over issues affecting people suffering from trichotillomania and other BFRBs and have been trying to empower more health professionals with the tools to address these disorder with their patients through their various research and online training programs. So it was inevitable that an unprecendented research project such as this one would be initiated by them.
What is the BFRB Precision Medicine Initiative?
The BFRB Precision Medicine Initiative is a collaboration driven initiative made possible by private investments, the BFRB Precision Medicine Initiative collaboration consists of leading scientists from over 20 participating research institutions in America. These institutions will analyse in-depth data collected of over 300 BFRB patients over 3 years. The researchers will collect clinical and genetic data, family history, neuro-images, and biological markers. This data is expected to help to pinpoint each person's BFRB profile, enabling treatment providers to target treatments more precisely, dramatically increasing remission rates for patients affected by dermatilllomania, trichotillomania and related behaviors.
Preliminary Data Analysis Underway
This work is already generating research papers in professional journals, bringing attention to our BPM results from the wider clinical and research community. Here are links to abstracts, or summary reviews, of the six peer-reviewed articles recently published by TLC Scientific Advisory Board Members, as a result of their data analysis:
- Trait anger, anger expression, and anger control in trichotillomania: Evidence for the emotion regulation model.
- Comorbidity and quality of life in adults with hair pulling disorder
- Sex differences in trichotillomania
- Trichotillomania and personality traits from the five-factor model.
- NEO-FFI personality clusters in trichotillomania
- A comparison of clinical vs. subclinical Israeli skin pickers