New research has pinppointed areas of the brain involved in obesity-compulsive disorder, or OCD.
The researchers analyze brain scores of nearly 500 people with and without OCD.
They find that, compared with those without OCD, people with the condition have more activity in the brain areas involved in detecting errors, but less activity in the brain areas that help resolve errors.
The findings could put the cause for better OCD treatment, the authors said.
New research analyzing the intelligence of nearly 500 people could provide clues to help experts better treat obesity-compulsive disorder (OCD), the psychological health condition characterized by uncontrollable, recurring ideas and behaviors.
Researchers poised the results of 10 previous studies that compared people with and without OCD. In the studies, the participants performed functional MR scans that looked at their brain activity during two functions: processing errors and inhibitory control, a process that allows for control of behaviors and ideas.
Their results, issued Thursday in the Journal of Biological Psychiatry, showed that – compared with men without the condition – People with OCD had more activity in the brain areas involved in detecting errors, but Less Activity in the brain areas involved in stopping actions, according to a University of Michigan explanation of the research.
"The results show that, in OCD, the brain responds too much to errors, and too small to keep signals," University of Michigan PostDoctoral Research fellow Luke Norman, PhD, lead the author of the study, said in the statement.
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The research focused on the singulo-operative network, a collection of brain areas that accidents a "monitor" for errors and the need to hold actions, the statement added. The new analysis suggests that the intelligence of OCD patients can get stuck in compulsive "loops," the study authors wrote. Even if the brain flags an odd idea or nature as wrong, it does not have the power to stop it.
In general, those with OCD lack control over their abscesses (unwanted thoughts that trigger need) and combines (behaviors arising in response to the obsessions), even if they recognize the ideas and behaviors are excessive, according to the National Mental Health Institute. (For example, an ordinary obsession is a fear of germs or contamination, and common combinations include excessive washing or cleaning.)
The causes of OCD are still unknown, but the new research suggests that specific error-detection abnormalities deep within the brain can play a role in the condition.
Experts have suspected that the abnormalities were involved in OCD, as stated in the statement, but this has not been "conclusively displayed" because individual studies have small numbers of participants.
"By combining data from ten studies, and nearly 500 patients and healthy volunteers, we could see how brain circuits long hypotheses to be crucial to OCD really involved in the disorder," he added.
Read more: 13 things you should not say to someone who is criminating with their mental health
The new research does not demonstrate that the observed brain disorders in OCD patients are a definitive cause of the condition. The data used by the researchers does not show whether the differences may be a cause or result of OCD, the university statement explains.
"More work is needed to further our understanding of how the performance and brain function of the abnormalities produced by OCD symptoms," the authors wrote in the paper.
But knowing more about the intelligence of OCD patients could help point-to-date researchers to better treat.
For now, OCD treatment typically includes psychotherapy, medication, or a combination of the two, but some patients continue to fight with symptoms, according to the NIMH.
Read more: 5 myths about OCD that you need to keep believing
"In Cognitive Natural Therapy Sessions for OCD, we work to help patients identify, confront and resist their compulsions … but it only works in about half of patients," University of Michigan Psychiatry Professor Kate Fitzgerald, a co-author of the New paper, said in the statement. "By findings such as we, we can make CBT more effective, or carry new treatments."
"This is not some deep dark problem of nature," she adds. "OCD is a medical problem, and not someone's guilt." With brain imaging, we can learn it just as core specialists study the eczema of their patients – and we can use that information to improve the care and lives of people with OCD.
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