Now we are thrilled to announce that the Journal of Neurosurgery is also excited about the work—so much so that they made it the cover story of their January issue.
Dr. Sheth, Director of the Functional and Cognitive Neurophysiology laboratory, used a combination of research and surgical experience to come up with a theory to explain why surgery on certain parts of the brain alleviates OCD symptoms.
Research shows that certain areas of the brain act differently in people who have OCD than in those without it. Surgeons have found that surgery on one of these areas in particular, the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC), often provides relief for patients who have not had success with other OCD treatments, such as therapy or medication.
But scientists have not been entirely sure why surgery in the dACC works. In the paper, Dr. Sheth proposed the theory that the dACC acts as a sort of coordinator, gathering information from other brain regions and “sounding the alarm” in response to a perceived threat. Under normal circumstances, once the threat is gone, the coordinator turns off the alarm.
Dr. Sheth and Dr. McGovern theorized that the coordinator can’t “shut off the alarm” in the brains of people who have OCD. Instead it keeps blaring out its warnings, which the person can’t help but react to. Under this theory, surgery in the dACC may work because it dampens activity in the coordinator, so the alarm will shut off when appropriate.
Learn more about the Functional and Cognitive Neurophysiology laboratory here.
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