When TLC began more than 30 years ago the idea of having personalized treatment interventions for BFRBs was not even a consideration. Fast forward to 2022 – the BPM researcher team has not only identified five distinct hair pulling and skin picking subtypes –this pioneering research is nearing the final data analysis stage before crafting clinical hypotheses designed to test and tailor personalized treatment interventions, including behavioral and pharmacological.
Brain scan images of research participants suggest differences in the brain regions associated with habit formation in subjects with hair pulling and skin picking diagnoses compared to control subjects.
Sensory sensitive pullers - highly focused pulling, scores high on measures of sensory sensitivity.
Low awareness pullers - the most common subtype – more automatic pulling due to emotional triggers.
Impulsive perfectionist pullers - present with the most unique characteristics of the three hair pulling subtypes - pull to control unpleasant feelings, score high on measures of perfectionism and very high on measures of overall impulsivity.
Emotional/reward pickers - the most common subtype and majority of skin pickers – strong and frequent 5 urges to pick with minimal control over picking – pick to cope with negative emotions, more likely to have ADHD, and report high levels of perfectionism.
Functional pickers - fairly mild picking – present with poor distress tolerance and problems with sensory sensitivity
TLC's Early Career Research Grant Award program supports the work of outstanding scientists early in their careers. Grant recipients receive funding for their work along with invaluable mentorship from TLC's esteemed Scientific Advisory Board.
TLC’s Early Career Research Grant Award program is scheduled to resume at the completion of the BPMI project.
Courtney Taylor Browne Luka
Dr. Christina Gallinat
Dr. Hannah Garza