1994 OCF Grant

Using magnetic-resonance imaging (MRI) to study brain functioning in individuals with trichotillomania

Richard L. O’Sullivan, MD

Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard University (Boston, MA)

Award Amount: $20,768

Trichotillomania is an OCD-related disorder characterized by compulsive hair pulling, and associated with impaired social functioning and self-esteem. This study by Dr. O’Sullivan and his team proposed using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to analyze brain functioning in people with trichotillomania in order to gain an understanding of the relationship between trichotillomania and OCD. By looking at the MRI scans of 10 participants with trichotillomania and 10 healthy controls, the study showed that the volume of the left putamen (a brain region associated with regulating movement) of participants with trichotillomania was significantly smaller in size than healthy controls, demonstrating a difference in brain structure for people with trichotillomania.


Related Publication:

O’Sullivan, R.L., Rauch, S.L., Breiter, H.C., Grachev, I.D., Baer, L., Kennedy, D.N., Keuthen, N.J., Savage, C.R., Manzo, P.A., Caviness, V.S. & Jenike, M.A. (1997). Reduced basal ganglia volumes in trichotillomania measured via morphometric magnetic resonance imaging. Biological Psychiatry, 42(1), 39-45. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0006-3223(96)00297-1