(HealthDay News) – Deep brain stimulation is an effective treatment for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) through its ability to normalize function and connectivity in a particular brain region, according to a brief communication published online Feb. 24 in Nature Neuroscience.

To examine whether deep brain stimulation works by normalizing the connectivity between the nucleus accumbens and the frontal cortex, Martijn Figee, MD, from Academic Medical Center in Amsterdam, and colleagues performed functional magnetic resonance imaging and electroencephalography in 16 patients with OCD who responded to deep brain stimulation targeted to the nucleus accumbens.

The researchers found that deep brain stimulation normalized the activity of the nucleus accumbens and decreased the excessive connectivity between the nucleus accumbens and the prefrontal cortex. The treatment also reduced frontal low-frequency oscillations elicited by symptom-provoking stimuli.

“Our results suggest that deep brain stimulation interrupts a pathological frontostriatal loop, allowing a shift from excessive processing of disease-related toward behaviorally relevant stimuli and restoration of goal-directed behavior,” Figee and colleagues conclude.

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