Faeces-smeared fake hands used in OCD trial

Rubber hands make patients laugh at first, putting them at ease in trial therapy

A new type of therapy using faeces and fake rubber hands may be able to help patients with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) overcome their fears of touching contaminated surfaces, a pilot study suggests.

Rubber hand

Traditional exposure therapy often involves instructing OCD patients to touch contaminated surfaces, such as a toilet seat, and then to not wash their hands.

It aims to help patients control their fears in a safe, managed environment, but many find it too difficult and cannot even begin therapy.

The UK and US trial involved 29 patients

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