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Can attention for itch stimuli be modified?


- candidate number26904
- NTR NumberNTR6273
- ISRCTNISRCTN no longer applicable
- Date ISRCTN created
- date ISRCTN requested
- Date Registered NTR15-mrt-2017
- Secondary IDsCEP17-0228/116 
- Public TitleCan attention for itch stimuli be modified?
- Scientific TitleAttentional bias modification (ABM) training for itch
- ACRONYM
- hypothesisThe primary hypothesis is that attentional bias modification (ABM) training towards and away from pictorial itch stimuli results in altered attention for pictorial itch stimuli.

Secondarily, it will be explored whether attentional bias modification training using pictorial itch stimuli generalizes to alter attentional processing of verbal itch stimuli (i.e. words) and mechanical itch sensitivity (sensitivity to touch evoked itch).
- Healt Condition(s) or Problem(s) studiedAttention, Attentional retraining, Itch, Healthy volunteers
- Inclusion criteriaVolunteers aged between 18 and 30 years and with understanding of the Dutch language
- Exclusion criteria- Current itch or pain of at least 3 on a scale from 0 (no itch/pain) to 10 (worst imaginable itch/pain)
- Diagnosis of a chronic itch or pain condition such as eczema, rheumatoid arthritis.
- Psychiatric diagnosis, such as major depression or AD(H)D.
- Colour blindness
- Dyslexia
- Reduced vision which is not corrected by glasses or contact lenses
- mec approval receivedyes
- multicenter trialno
- randomisedyes
- masking/blindingDouble
- controlPlacebo
- groupParallel
- Type2 or more arms, randomized
- Studytypeintervention
- planned startdate 15-mrt-2017
- planned closingdate31-dec-2017
- Target number of participants120
- InterventionsIn line with previously applied attentional bias modification (ABM) trainings for pain (e.g., Dehghani et al., 2004; Haggman et al., 2010; McGowan et al., 2009; Sharpe et al., 2010, 2012, 2014), we developed an ABM training for itch. In this training, a modified dot-probe task will be used in which itch-related pictures are paired with neutral pictures. In this computerized task, first a fixation point is briefly shown in the middle of the screen, followed by brief presentation of the pair of itch-neutral pictures. Of these pictures, one is shown in the upper half of the screen and the other in the lower half of the screen. Subsequently, a target symbol is presented on the screen, either congruently (at the same location) or incongruently (at the opposite location) to the location of the previously shown itch picture. Participants respond as quickly and accurately as possible to the type of target symbol by pressing the corresponding response button. In this study, participants will be randomly allocated to one of three conditions: In the “training away from itch” condition, the targets will be presented incongruently, while in the “training towards itch” condition, the targets will be presented congruently to the location of the itch stimulus. In the control condition, an equal proportion of targets will be equally presented on both locations. Before and after the training condition, comparable dot-probe tasks with pictures (different stimuli) will be administered as measure of the effect on attention to the itch pictures. A comparable dot-probe task with word stimuli will also be administered before and after the training condition to investigate generalization of the ABM training to stimuli of another modality. In addition, to investigate potential effect of ABM on itch sensitivity, sensitivity to touch evoked itch will be assessed using von Frey monofilaments (e.g., Andersen et al., 2016; 2017).
- Primary outcomeAn attentional bias index, i.e. the difference between the average reaction time for incongruent trials (at the location of the neutral stimulus) and the average reaction time for congruent trials (at the location of the itch stimulus), will be the primary outcome measure. The attentional bias index for the post ABM dot-probe task will be compared across the three conditions, while taking into account the attentional bias index during the pre-ABM dot-probe task.
- Secondary outcomeSecondarily, generalization to another stimulus modality will be investigated by comparing the conditions on the attentional bias index for the word stimuli and differences in sensitivity to touch evoked itch will be assessed across conditions. It is planned to explore the temporal dynamics of attention allocation over time (e.g., Davis et al., 2016, Zvielli et al., 2016) for both the itch pictures and words across the conditions.
- TimepointsThis is a cross-sectional study with only one experimental session.
- Trial web site
- statusopen: patient inclusion
- CONTACT FOR PUBLIC QUERIESDr. A.I.M. van Laarhoven
- CONTACT for SCIENTIFIC QUERIESDr. A.I.M. van Laarhoven
- Sponsor/Initiator Leiden University
- Funding
(Source(s) of Monetary or Material Support)
Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO)
- Publicationsnot yet
- Brief summaryThe fact that itch draws attention is for instance reflected by its contagiousness. People tend to feel itch upon observing others scratching or talking about itch. Attentional processing of itch has however barely been investigated. In this study we plan to investigate whether attention for itch stimuli can be altered. Specifically, we aim to explore whether attention can be trained towards and away from itch stimuli. We use a paradigm that has multiple times been applied for pain. If attention for itch can be trained, it might have therapeutical implications for patients suffering from chronic itch due to for instance skin conditions.
- Main changes (audit trail)
- RECORD15-mrt-2017 - 29-apr-2017


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