Faulty Circuits

Bad brain wiring may underlie obsessive-compulsive disorder

CHRONIC ACUTE ANXIETIES ABOUT SEX, VIOLENCE and contamination are bizarre and debilitating. Sufferers of so-called obsessive-compulsive disorder -- about 2% of populations worldwide -- constantly repeat such simple actions as washing their hands, manically checking doors and stoves, and hoarding newspapers. Scientists who have long suspected that a key problem is a malfunction in the brain's circuitry now have strong evidence to support that idea. According to researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, successful behavior- modification therapy and drug treatment both have a marked effect on a central region of the brain that governs the learning of habits and...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!