Toward a better understanding of the pathophysiology of OCD SSRI responders: QEEG source localization

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To demonstrate the utility of three-dimensional source localization of the scalp-recorded electroencephalogram (EEG) for the identification of the most probable underlying brain dysfunction in patients with obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD).


Eyes-closed resting EEG data was recorded from the scalp locations of the International 10/20 System. Variable resolution electromagnetic tomography (VARETA) was applied to artifact-free EEG data. This mathematical algorithm estimates the source generators of EEG recorded from the scalp.


An excess in the alpha range was found with sources in the corpus striatum, in the orbito-frontal and temporo-frontal regions in untreated OCD patients. This abnormality was seen to decrease following successful treatment with paroxetine.


The VARETA findings of an activation/deactivation pattern in cortical and subcortical structures in paroxetine-responsive patients are in good accordance with data obtained in previously published positron emission tomography studies related to current hypotheses of a thalamo-striatal-frontal feedback loop being relevant for understanding the pathophysiology of OCD.

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