Olfactory identification and discrimination in obsessive-compulsive disorder

Authors

  • Cinto Segalàs M.D.,

    Corresponding author
    1. OCD Clinical and Research Unit, Department of Psychiatry, Bellvitge University Hospital, Barcelona, Spain
    2. CIBERSAM (Centro de Investigación en Red de Salud Mental), Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Spain
    3. Institut d' Investigació Biomèdica de Bellvitge (IDIBELL), L'Hospitalet de Llobregat, Barcelona, Spain
    • Deparment of Psychiatry, Hospital Universitario de Bellvitge, c/Feixa Llarga s/n, 08907 Hospitalet de Llobregat, Barcelona, Spain
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  • Javier Labad M.D.,

    1. Hospital Psiquiatric Universitari Institut Pere Mata, IISPV, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Reus, Spain
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  • Pino Alonso M.D. Ph.D.,

    1. OCD Clinical and Research Unit, Department of Psychiatry, Bellvitge University Hospital, Barcelona, Spain
    2. CIBERSAM (Centro de Investigación en Red de Salud Mental), Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Spain
    3. Institut d' Investigació Biomèdica de Bellvitge (IDIBELL), L'Hospitalet de Llobregat, Barcelona, Spain
    4. Department of Clinical Sciences, Bellvitge Campus, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
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  • Eva Real M.D.,

    1. OCD Clinical and Research Unit, Department of Psychiatry, Bellvitge University Hospital, Barcelona, Spain
    2. CIBERSAM (Centro de Investigación en Red de Salud Mental), Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Spain
    3. Institut d' Investigació Biomèdica de Bellvitge (IDIBELL), L'Hospitalet de Llobregat, Barcelona, Spain
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  • Marta Subirà M.D.,

    1. OCD Clinical and Research Unit, Department of Psychiatry, Bellvitge University Hospital, Barcelona, Spain
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  • Blanca Bueno Psych.,

    1. OCD Clinical and Research Unit, Department of Psychiatry, Bellvitge University Hospital, Barcelona, Spain
    2. CIBERSAM (Centro de Investigación en Red de Salud Mental), Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Spain
    3. Institut d' Investigació Biomèdica de Bellvitge (IDIBELL), L'Hospitalet de Llobregat, Barcelona, Spain
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  • Susana Jiménez-Murcia Psych. Ph.D.,

    1. OCD Clinical and Research Unit, Department of Psychiatry, Bellvitge University Hospital, Barcelona, Spain
    2. Institut d' Investigació Biomèdica de Bellvitge (IDIBELL), L'Hospitalet de Llobregat, Barcelona, Spain
    3. CIBEROBN (Ciber Fisiopatologia Obesidad y Nutrición), Instituto Salud Carlos III, Spain
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  • José M. Menchón M.D. Ph.D.

    1. OCD Clinical and Research Unit, Department of Psychiatry, Bellvitge University Hospital, Barcelona, Spain
    2. CIBERSAM (Centro de Investigación en Red de Salud Mental), Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Spain
    3. Institut d' Investigació Biomèdica de Bellvitge (IDIBELL), L'Hospitalet de Llobregat, Barcelona, Spain
    4. Department of Clinical Sciences, Bellvitge Campus, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
    5. Department of Psychiatry and Clinical Psychobiology, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
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  • No conflict of interest was declared.

Abstract

Background: Neuroimaging and neuropsychological data from patients with an obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) indicate the dysfunction of the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC). Olfactory processing has been associated with OFC function, although results from OCD studies regarding this sensory modality have been inconclusive. No previous study has analyzed both odor discrimination and identification capacity in OCD patients using “Sniffin' Sticks” tests. The aim of our study was to assess odor threshold, identification, discrimination, and nonverbal memory in OCD patients, in order to determine whether these functions were affected. Methods: Olfactory function was measured in 29 OCD patients and 29 healthy volunteers (HV) using the “Sniffin' Sticks” test and their nonverbal memory was scored with the Rey–Osterrieth Complex Figure Test. Results: OCD patients showed significant impairment in their odor performance and in their execution of the nonverbal memory task compared to HV. No statistical associations were found between the deficits in the two areas. The severity of depressive and obsessive-compulsive symptoms did correlate with olfactory identification. Conclusion: Our findings support the hypothesis that olfactory and memory dysfunctions in OCD reflect different neurobiological alterations of the disorder, and point to the modulation effect of depressive and obsessive-compulsive symptoms on odor performance. Depression and Anxiety, 2011.  © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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