Association between EEG alpha power and visuospatial function in obsessive–compulsive disorder

Authors

  • YONG-WOOK SHIN md ,

    1. Department of Psychiatry, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Asan Medical Center,
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  • TAE HYON HA md ,

    1. BK 21 Human Life Sciences, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
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  • SEONG YOON KIM md ,

    1. Department of Psychiatry, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Asan Medical Center,
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  • JUN SOO KWON md , phd

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Psychiatry, Seoul National University College of Medicine and Institute for Neuroscience and
    2. BK 21 Human Life Sciences, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
      Assoc. Professor Jun Soo Kwon, Department of Psychiatry, Seoul National University College of Medicine, 28 Yongon-dong, Chongno-gu, Seoul 110-744, Korea. Email: kwonjs@plaza.snu.ac.kr
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Assoc. Professor Jun Soo Kwon, Department of Psychiatry, Seoul National University College of Medicine, 28 Yongon-dong, Chongno-gu, Seoul 110-744, Korea. Email: kwonjs@plaza.snu.ac.kr

Abstract

Abstract  The purpose of the present paper was to determine if frontal activity, measured as electroencephalogram alpha power, correlates with visuospatial functions in obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD). Electroencephalography and the Rey–Osterrieth Complex Figure Test (RCFT) were performed on 23 patients meeting the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th edn; DSM-IV) OCD criteria. After quantitatively analyzing EEG recordings taken over the frontal, temporal, parietal and occipital regions (F1, F2, T3, T4, P3, P4, O1 and O2), the log transformed absolute power values of the alpha frequencies of the regions were regressed with each RCFT index (copy, immediate recall and delayed recall score). On the frontal region (F1, F2), the RCFT copy score was found to be correlated with the alpha power with regression coefficients that had different directions according to hemisphere (F1, 5.62; F2, −5.26). The result that visuo-constructional ability represented by the RCFT copy score correlated with frontal activation as measured by decreased alpha power, supports the opinion that visuospatial dysfunction in OCD is not in the visuospatial memory per se but rather that it is mediated by executive function deficit. The opposite correlation directions indicate that greater left frontal activation correlates with a poorer RCFT copy score and that greater right frontal activation correlates with a better copy score. These relationships provide indirect evidence of the possibility that the main pathology of OCD is located in  the left hyperfrontality and that the right hyperfrontality of OCD occurs by a compensatory mechanism.

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