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Patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) show deficient planning capacity in the Tower of London (TOL) problem solving task. Preliminary evidence for similar deficits in unaffected first-degree relatives suggests that impaired planning may constitute an endophenotype of OCD. However, results on this issue are inconsistent, possibly owing to small sample sizes and variability in problem structure across TOL tasks. Here, we adopted a computerized version of the TOL task featuring a 2 × 2 factorial design (high/low search depth × full/partial tower goal state) and examined a well-characterized sample of n = 72 OCD patients, n = 76 unaffected first-degree relatives and n = 102 healthy comparison subjects. Both OCD patients and relatives exhibited significantly less accurate problem solving than controls. Search depth, goal hierarchy, or the number of minimum moves did not moderate these group differences. Medication, OCD symptoms, and depressive comorbidity did not affect TOL performance in patients, suggesting a state-independent effect. In conclusion, we found that OCD patients as well as unaffected first-degree relatives show deficient TOL performance across a range of task conditions, strongly supporting the role of impaired planning as an endophenotype of OCD, and contributing to the growing evidence for fronto-striatal dysfunctions in OCD.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Journal of anxiety disorders
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An anxiety disorder characterized by recurrent, persistent obsessions or compulsions. Obsessions are the intrusive ideas, thoughts, or images that are experienced as senseless or repugnant. Compulsions are repetitive and seemingly purposeful behavior which the individual generally recognizes as senseless and from which the individual does not derive pleasure although it may provide a release from tension.
Disorder characterized by an emotionally constricted manner that is unduly conventional, serious, formal, and stingy, by preoccupation with trivial details, rules, order, organization, schedules, and lists, by stubborn insistence on having things one's own way without regard for the effects on others, by poor interpersonal relationships, and by indecisiveness due to fear of making mistakes.
Blood coagulation disorder usually inherited as an autosomal recessive trait, though it can be acquired. It is characterized by defective activity in both the intrinsic and extrinsic pathways, impaired thromboplastin time, and impaired prothrombin consumption.
A disorder beginning in childhood. It is marked by the presence of markedly abnormal or impaired development in social interaction and communication and a markedly restricted repertoire of activity and interest. Manifestations of the disorder vary greatly depending on the developmental level and chronological age of the individual. (DSM-IV)
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