1999 OCF Grant

Functional neuroanatomy of obsessive compulsive hoarding

Sanjaya Saxena, MD

Columbia University (New York, NY)

This study was conducted before hoarding disorder (HD) became a separate diagnosis in the DSM-V in 2013. 

At the time of the study, research showed that 30% of OCD patients also had hoarding symptoms. The neurobiology behind this occurrence was not investigated, and no medical options were available for this population.

This study, led by Dr. Saxena and his team, used positron emission tomography (PET) scans to find metabolic patterns in the brain that are associated with hoarding and respond to treatment. The team conducted two PET scans on individuals with OCD — one before and one after a 12-week course of 40-60mg of paroxetine (a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, or SSRI; brand name “Paxil”) taken daily. These scans were then compared with scans from individuals who only had OCD to find differences and predict a response to treatments. This grant led to a publication regarding overall neuroanatomy of OCD and the use of functional neuroimaging.

Resulting Publication:

Saxena, S. & Rauch, S.L. (2000). Functional neuroimaging and the neuroanatomy of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Obsessive-Compulsive Spectrum Disorders, 23(3), 563-586. doi:10.1016/S0193-953X(05)70181-7