Prior research showed that abnormalities in the anterior cingulate (a brain region involved in error detection, attention, reward, and decision making) are linked to OCD, with brain imaging studies showing hyperactivity in that region during symptoms.
This study by Dr. Gruner and her team examined the brains of 23 pediatric OCD patients and 23 healthy controls through diffusion tensor imaging to find how certain brain regions in white matter (parts of the brain beneath the cortex) change. The results showed that there were abnormalities in several white matter areas in pediatric OCD patients, which can potentially serve as markers. Specifically, these markers are the left dorsal cingulum bundle (a part of the brain that connects the frontal, parietal, and temporal lobes), the splenium of the corpus callosum (associated with connections between the left and right sides of the brain), the right corticospinal tract (a neuron pathway that is associated with motor movement), and the left inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus (associated with language processing and goal-related behavior). This study helped inform how the brains of people with pediatric OCD can function differently early in its course.
*Gruner, P., Vo, A., Ikuta, T., Mahon, K., Peters, B.D., Malhotra, A.K., Ulug, A.M., & Szeszko, P.R. (2012). White matter abnormalities in pediatric obsessive compulsive disorder. Neuropsychopharmacology, 37, 2730-2739. doi:10.1038/npp.2012.138