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Biological Contributions to obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)

Biological Contributions to obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)

In 1985, Turner, Beidel, and Nathan reviewed the available data that addressed biological factors in obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Included in the review were genetic and family studies, neurophysiological and neuropsychological studies, neuroanatomical studies, and biochemical and pharmacological studies. Turner et al. concluded that although biological factors correlated with OCD from the evidence available then, it did not appear that the disorder was strictly a biological abnormality. Rather, the most parsimonious explanation was that there might be a biological predisposition that leaves the individual more vulnerable to the development of OCD, perhaps from psychological and/or environmental stress. One important limitation of the studies reviewed in 1985 was that there were few data that directly assessed brain function, and inferences had to be made from indirect measures such as blood or plasma neurochemistry. During the past 15 years, advances in scientific and medical technology offer heretofore unavailable opportunities to directly assess brain structures and functions. In this section, the biological basis of OCD will be examined using biochemical and neuropharmacological studies, neuropsychological assessment, structural and functional neuroanatomy literature, and psychosurgery follow-up studies.

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