Comorbidity of idiopathic focal dystonia and obsessive compulsive disorders

R. Cavallaro, G. Galardi, S. Amadio, R. Guerriero, C. Cavallini, M. Henin, L. Bellodi, G. Comi

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Idiopathic focal dystonia (IFD) and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), two severe and disabling neurologic and psychiatric disorders, share at least in part a common brain circuit pathophysiology. For both diseases a disturbed striothalamo-cortical circuitry function is hypothesized. Previous studies on limited samples showed either higher obsessionality scores or higher frequency of the OCD in dystonic populations than in normal controls. On the other hand, neurological conditions such as Sydenham and Huntington chorea frequently show obsessive-compulsive symptoms and Tourette disorder shows a high comorbidity and familial morbidity risk of OCD, so that they are considered in the current literature to be an extreme neurological area OCD spectrum disorders. The aim of this study was to evaluate the comorbidity and familial risk for OCD in a sample of patients with a diagnosis of IFD. A total of 58 patients with different kinds of IFD and a mean age of 55.4 (15.5 sd) years underwent a psychiatric examination with the specific SCID-R form for OCD and the Y-BOCS scale for the assessment of severity and clinical features of the disorder if found to be affected. The overall prevalence of OCD found among idiopathic dystonias was 20.6%. A family study of first- and second-degree relatives led to a morbidity risk for OCD of 11.1 in the subgroup of patients diagnosed as having OCD. Both the prevalence and morbidity risk values were extremely high and significantly superior to the values in the general population. This result is highly suggestive of a common physiopathology for the two disorders, at least in some ID patients.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNeurological Sciences
Issue number4 SUPPL.
Publication statusPublished - 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Neurology


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