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Unraveling the link between chemical imbalance and compulsive behavior: What role does the forebrain play in OCD?

Updated: May 20




The research conducted by the University of Cambridge sheds light on the neurobiological roots of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Through use of magnetic resonance spectroscopy, the researchers measured levels of glutamate and GABA in regions of the cerebral cortex, the outermost and most highly developed part of the human brain. The researchers discovered that a chemical imbalance in the anterior cingulate cortex, particularly involving increased levels of neurotransmitter glutamate and lower levels of GABA, is linked to those diagnosed with clinical OCD compared to those without OCD.


The scientists suggest that elevated levels of glutamate could serve as a potential "biomarker" for OCD. This discovery might offer insights into novel therapeutic avenues for medication management to support treatment.


Research is ongoing for medication management for OCD using inhibitors of the neurotransmitter glutamate. For more information, see International OCD Foundation's site.


 

Reference: Biria, M et al. (2023) Cortical glutamate and GABA are related to compulsive behaviour in individuals with obsessive compulsive disorder and healthy controls. Nature Communications. DOI: 10.1038/s41467-023-38695-z.

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