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Psychiatry Res. 1996 Mar 29;60(2-3):101-12.

A controlled positron emission tomography study of obsessive and neutral auditory stimulation in obsessive-compulsive disorder with checking rituals.

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Department of Psychiatry, Hôpital Neurologique, Lyon, France.


Ten nondepressed patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) who were characterized by predominant checking rituals were compared with 10 age- and sex-matched control subjects. Hemispheric and regional cerebral blood flow levels (rCBF) were measured with positron emission tomography (H2 15O) across four conditions: rest, auditory stimulation with idiosyncratic normal or abnormal obsession, auditory stimulation with neutral verbal stimuli, and rest. Order of neutral and obsessive stimulation was randomized. Higher subjective responses to obsessive than to neutral stimulation were found in both groups; subjective response was higher in OCD patients when obsessive stimulation was presented first. A four-way analysis of variance (group x stimulation order x hemisphere x condition [neutral or obsessive stimulation]) was performed on stimulation minus rest normalized rCBF values. Control subjects had significantly higher rCBF in the thalamus and putamen. A trend toward higher rCBF in OCD patients was found in the superior temporal regions. When neutral stimulation was presented first, rCBF was significantly higher in the caudate region of control subjects. Obsessive stimulation was associated with higher rCBF than neutral stimulation in orbitofrontal regions in both groups of subjects. Under obsessive stimulation, superior temporal and orbitofrontal activities were correlated in OCD patients but not in control subjects. Our study suggests specific abnormalities of information processing in the basal ganglia and temporal structures of compulsive checkers.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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