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Health Agencies Update
September 26, 2012

Trouble Letting Go: Hoarders

JAMA. 2012;308(12):1198. doi:10.1001/2012.jama.11449

Patients with hoarding disorder exhibit an unusual pattern of brain activity when deciding whether to keep or discard objects, according to an imaging study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health.

Patients with hoarding disorder acquire excessive numbers of objects and have difficulty discarding them, leading to an accumulation of clutter that can create unsafe or unsanitary conditions. Some clinicians have considered the condition a type of obsessive-compulsive disorder. To test this idea, a multi-institution team of researchers compared brain activity during decision making about possessions in 43 adults with hoarding disorder, 31 with obsessive-compulsive disorder, and 33 healthy controls (Tolin DF et al. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2012;69[8]:832-841).

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