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OCD: a mystery of the centuries may be nearer to a solution.

There is growing evidence that obsessive-compulsive disorder is not a psychological aberration but the result of abnormal metabolism in specific areas of the brain.

Neurotransmitters in the brain are actually messengers that operate from one neuron (brain cell) to another. The chemical involved in the process is serotonin, and its flow, if not well-balanced, can cause defective transmission between essential parts of the brain.

The front part of the brain which lies just above the eyes (orbital gyri), is involved with social consciousness regarding proper behavior. Underactivity of that part of the brain leads to irregularity and malfunctioning of social consciousness and uncontrolled behaviors. Examples of overeating leading to gross obesity, personality changes and inappropriate use of profanity and bodily tics (frequently seen in Tourette Syndrome described in part 3 of this issue).

Overactivity of this part of the brain may lead to excessive concern with meticulousness, fastidiousness, nitpicking and other manifestations of obsessive-compulsive behavior.

The front part of the brain contains the limbic system, which is the center of activity, and is also the area in which serotonin, the essential neurotransmitter chemical, can fail to metabolize properly.

Serotonin transmission causing overactivity or underactivity, is considered to be the result of a defective gene that becomes part of a hereditary pattern.

If this theory continues to be confirmed, a mystery that has baffled the world for thousands of years will be solved. Efforts can then be made to perfect the medication and behavior techniques that will bring relief to millions of sufferers.
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Title Annotation:obsessive-compulsive disorder
Publication:Nutrition Health Review
Date:Jan 1, 1991
Previous Article:Obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Next Article:The clue to baffling OCD: serotonin deficiency.

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