British researchers say brain scans may be able to identify people with a genetic risk of developing obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), which is characterised by irrational fears and thoughts that cause people to repeat seemingly pointless actions over and over again, BBC News reported.
The Cambridge University researchers scanned the brains of 100 OCD patients and close relatives of OCD patients and found they all had distinctive patterns in their brain structure.
It appears that as-of-yet unidentified genes cause changes to the brain's anatomy.
In addition, OCD patients and relatives of OCD patients did worse than volunteers in a control group on a test designed to measure the ability to halt repetitive behaviours, BBC News reported.
May be genetic
"Impaired brain function in the areas of the brain associated with stopping motor responses may contribute to the compulsive and repetitive behaviours that are characteristic of OCD," researcher Lara Menzies said.
"These brain changes appear to run in families and may represent a genetic risk factor for developing the condition."
Menzies said the new information in this study, published in the journal Brain, may help lead to improved diagnosis and treatment of OCD. – (HealthDay)
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