Navigation Links
Creatures of habit: Disorders of compulsivity share common pattern and brain structure
Date:5/29/2014

People affected by binge eating, substance abuse and obsessive compulsive disorder all share a common pattern of decision making and similarities in brain structure, according to new research from the University of Cambridge.

In a study published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry and primarily funded by the Wellcome Trust, researchers show that people who are affected by disorders of compulsivity have lower grey matter volumes (in other words, fewer nerve cells) in the brain regions involved in keeping track of goals and rewards.

In our daily lives, we make decisions based either on habit or aimed at achieving a specific goal. For example, when driving home from work, we tend to follow habitual choices our 'autopilot' mode as we know the route well; however, if we move to a nearby street, we will initially follow a 'goal-directed' choice to find our way home unless we slip into autopilot and revert to driving back to our old home. However, we cannot always control the decision-making process and make repeat choices even when we know they are bad for us in many cases this will be relatively benign, such as being tempted by a cake whilst slimming, but extreme cases it can lead to disorders of compulsivity.

In order to understand what happens when our decision-making processes malfunction, a team of researchers led by the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Cambridge compared almost 150 individuals with disorders including methamphetamine dependence, obesity with binge eating and obsessive compulsive disorder, comparing them with healthy volunteers of the same age and gender.

Study participants first took part in a computerised task to test their ability to make choices aimed a receiving a reward over and above making compulsive choices. In a second study, the researchers compared brain scans taken using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in healthy individuals and a subset of obese individuals with or without binge eating disorder (a subtype of obesity in which the person binge eats large amounts of food rapidly).

The researchers demonstrated that all of the disorders were connected by a shift away from goal-directed behaviours towards automatic habitual choices. The MRI scans showed that obese subjects with binge eating disorder have lower grey matter volumes a measure of the number of neurons in the orbitofrontal cortex and striatum of the brain compared to those who do not binge eat; these brain regions are involved in keeping track of goals and rewards. Even in healthy volunteers, lower grey matter volumes were associated with a shift towards more habitual choices.

Dr Valerie Voon, principal investigator of the study, says: "Seemingly diverse choices drug taking, eating quickly despite weight gain, and compulsive cleaning or checking have an underlying common thread: rather that a person making a choice based on what they think will happen, their choice is automatic or habitual.

"Compulsive disorders can have a profoundly disabling effect of individuals. Now that we know what is going wrong with their decision making, we can look at developing treatments, for example using psychotherapy focused on forward planning or interventions such as medication which target the shift towards habitual choices."


'/>"/>

Contact: Craig Brierley
craig.brierley@admin.cam.ac.uk
44-012-237-66205
University of Cambridge
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Force of habit: Stress hormones switch off areas of the brain for goal-directed behaviour
2. Life Transitions May Trigger Eating Disorders
3. LA BioMeds Dr. Patricia Dickson researching treatments for neurodegenerative disorders
4. Preteen Food Choices May Help Predict Eating Disorders Later
5. Elsevier, SVS announce 2013 launch of Journal of Vascular Surgery: Venous and Lymphatic Disorders
6. Snoring Isn't Sexy Member Dr. Mark Levy attends Academy of Clinical Sleep Disorders Disciplines Conference in Phoenix, Arizona
7. Eating Disorders Hitting Women Over 50, Study Finds
8. Bees shed light on human sweet perception and metabolic disorders
9. Childless women with fertility problems at higher risk of hospitalization for psychiatric disorders
10. Electrical brain stimulation can alleviate swallowing disorders after stroke
11. Mount Sinai finds common factors in autism spectrum disorders, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/25/2017)... ... April 25, 2017 , ... Back Pain Centers ... back pain with a reputable physician in their area, announces the launch of a ... information for patients who are looking for reputable physicians to help them with back ...
(Date:4/25/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... April 25, 2017 , ... ... addition of predictive analytics to its patient care management module. Using this new ... before a patient has been initiated on continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), oral, ...
(Date:4/25/2017)... ... April 25, 2017 , ... Vetoquinol USA® ... introducing Flexadin UCII, part of the EQUISTRO line, at this week’s Rolex Kentucky ... horses at the immunologic level. , The scientifically-developed Flexadin UCII supports the body’s ...
(Date:4/24/2017)... ... April 24, 2017 , ... LG ... Your Own Device (BYOD) capabilities at Telehealth 2.0, the American Telemedicine Association’s national ... which pairs medical devices with a pre-programmed tablet in a remarkably easy-to-use kit ...
(Date:4/24/2017)... ... 2017 , ... Ridgecrest Herbals makes it a point to lead the Utah ... and support renewable energy. They believe this is a crucial part of their mission ... health issues, and maintain that destroying the environment in the pursuit of profit is ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:4/20/2017)... -- AbbVie (NYSE: ABBV), a global biopharmaceutical company, today ... C virus (HCV) infected patients with genotype 1, ... (Child-Pugh A) achieved sustained virologic response at 12 ... pan-genotypic regimen of glecaprevir/pibrentasvir (G/P). These high SVR ... of G/P treatment without ribavirin. Patients with specific ...
(Date:4/20/2017)... Sweden , April 20, 2017 ... NEVPF) ("NeuroVive") today announced positive preclinical results ... preclinical compound for non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), in ... NV556 has previously shown ... NASH model. Today, NeuroVive,s scientists present novel ...
(Date:4/19/2017)... NEW YORK , April 19, 2017 Cardiology ... during the projected period The Cardiology Devices segment ... more than US$ 15 Mn in 2018 over 2017. By ... reach a market valuation close to US$ 700 Mn, expanding ... Cardiology Devices segment dominated the Asia Pacific ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: