Researchers from the University of Cambridge in the U.K. have found a way to determine predisposition to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder by examining the lateral orbitalfrontal cortex. This area of the brain is responsible for habitual behavior, flexibility of thought and decision making. In patients with OCD, this area is under active. Fourteen people without OCD were compared with 14 people diagnosed with OCD and 12 of their close relatives using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). The image shown here is an fMRI image of a human brain. The lateral orbitofrontal cortex in the brains of the OCD patients and their families showed decreased activity compared with the brain functioning of the control subjects when asked to make a decision about an image shown to them.
Although the researchers know the area associated with OCD, they do not yet know the gene (if any) that is responsible for causing the disease.
A copy of this article can be found at brain blogger.
This article was originally published in the July 18, 2008 issue of Science.
The full press release can be viewed at Eureka Alert.