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ABSTRACT: Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a chronic disease characterized by repetitive, unwanted intrusive thoughts and ritualistic behaviors. Studies of neuropsychological functions in OCD have documented deficits in several cognitive domains, particularly with regard to visuospatial abilities, executive functioning, and motor speed. The objective of the present study was to investigate systematically the cognitive functioning of OCD patients who were free of medication and comorbid psychiatric disorders. In the present study, 72 OCD patients were compared with 54 healthy controls on their performance in a comprehensive neuropsychological battery. The Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale and the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale were administered to the patients, and a semistructured interview form was used to evaluate the demographic features of the patients and control subjects. Overall, widespread statistically significant differences were found in tests related to verbal memory, global attention and psychomotor speed, and visuospatial and executive functions indicating a poorer performance of the OCD group. A closer scrutiny of these results suggests that the OCD group has difficulty in using an effective learning strategy that might be partly explained by their insufficient mental flexibility and somewhat poor planning abilities.
Comprehensive psychiatry 05/2011; 53(2):167-75. · 2.08 Impact Factor