Last week, Oskar Flygare, Volen Ivanov and Christian Rück visited our collaborators in São Paulo, Brazil to work on current projects and discuss new ones. This was the third meeting in person between the two collaborating groups, the previous ones being Alice de Mathis’ visit to Stockholm and a visit by Oskar and Christian to São Paulo in 2019. The OCD research group at São Paulo is led by professor Euripedes Constantino Miguel and our visits always involve a rich exchange of ideas relating to our research.
One ongoing research project is a pilot study of an internet-delivered treatment for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD-NET) which has been translated to Portuguese and is now being evaluated in Brazil. After a brief suspension due to the pandemic, the project is now well underway with ongoing recruitment and treatment of patients. So far the feedback from both therapists and patients has been encouraging. In addition to discussing the ongoing project, Oskar presented results and lessons learned from two recent clinical trials on OCD-NET in Sweden and England.
Volen shared his knowledge about hoarding disorder, from research projects and clinical work. Expertise in diagnosing and treating hoarding disorder is sorely lacking in Brazil, and our colleagues were eager to learn as much as possible in order to provide effective care. Interestingly, just months before our visit a podcast about an individual with likely hoarding disorder in São Paulo has stoked public interest and increased awareness about the condition. It is clear that our research groups have plenty of opportunities for collaboration on projects related to hoarding.
The visit was also an opportunity to plan an upcoming project led by Arthur Caye that will evaluate internet-delivered treatments for OCD, depression, insomnia and anxiety in two municipalities outside of São Paulo: Jaguariúna and Indaiatuba. The access to psychotherapy in these cities is limited and the project is an opportunity to increase access to effective treatments for common disorders. The project will evaluate the feasibility of using internet-delivered treatments in primary care, where most of the patients with mental disorders are seen.
We were once again moved by the hospitality and warmth our hosts showed us. There was a rich social programme outside the work activities and we had the opportunity to enjoy samba with Daniel Costa, soccer with Rodolfo Furlan Damiano and several restaurants together with our Brazilian colleagues Nil Morales, Sonia Borcato and Roseli Shavitt. Thanks to their generosity with their time, we got a true taste of Brazilian culture!