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Adv Neurol. 2001;85:207-24.

Probing striato-thalamic function in obsessive-compulsive disorder and Tourette syndrome using neuroimaging methods.

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1
Departments of Psychiatry and Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

Abstract

In summary, contemporary pathophysiological models of OCD and related disorders implicate CSTC circuitry. In this chapter, we have reviewed relevant concepts related to implicit learning and more specifically, the use of an implicit sequence learning paradigm as a probe of striato-thalamic function. An initial PET investigation of patients with OCD confirmed a priori hypotheses of failure to recruit right striatum, despite the absence of a performance deficit (22). A modified version of the SRT was studied in conjunction with fMRI and yielded reliable right-lateralized striatal activation in a cohort of 10 male subjects, with clear spatial dissociation of caudate and putamen activation foci (119). Subsequent studies in our laboratory suggest that this paradigm also yields a reliable temporal window of thalamic deactivation, and hence a means for assessing thalamic gating in human subjects (120). Finally, as presented in this chapter, preliminary data from the fMRI-SRT in patients with OCD and TS as well as normal control subjects appear to replicate and extend the findings from our original PET-SRT study in OCD. Future investigations in our laboratory will seek to elaborate upon these preliminary results. In particular, we intend to study psychiatric comparison groups to establish the generalizability and/or specificity of these findings across disorders. Within OCD, we hope to explore the relationship between abnormal brain-activation patterns and symptom dimensions (34). Further, by studying subjects with remitted OCD who have been successfully treated, we hope to determine whether the observed brain-activation abnormalities represent state or trait markers. Finally, we have already begun to test a hypothesis of parallel processing deficiency in OCD by using a dual-task version of the SRT that makes simultaneous demands on implicit and explicit information processing systems (128). It is our hope that this program of research will yield new insights about OCD and related disorders, including TS. Most importantly, as other teams of investigators pursue complementary lines of inquiry, it is our wish that collective efforts in this field will lead to improved diagnosis and treatment, if not cure or prevention, for those who are afflicted with these illnesses.

PMID:
11530429
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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