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Reduced basal ganglia volumes in trichotillomania measured via morphometric magnetic resonance imaging.

O'Sullivan RL, Rauch SL, Breiter HC, Grachev ID, Baer L, Kennedy DN, Keuthen NJ, Savage CR, Manzo PA, Caviness VS, Jenike MA
Biological psychiatry


A morphometric magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) study compared volumes of brain structures in 10 female subjects with trichotillomania (repetitive hair-pulling) versus 10 normal controls matched for sex, age, handedness, and education. Three-dimensional MRI scans were blindly normalized and segmented using well-characterized semiautomated intensity and differential contour algorithms by signal intensity-frequency histograms. Consistent with one a priori hypothesis, left putamen volume was found to be significantly smaller in trichotillomania subjects as compared with normal matched controls. This is the first report of a structural brain abnormality in trichotillomania. Results are discussed in terms of putative relationships between trichotillomania, Tourette's syndrome, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

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