Obsessive-compulsive symptoms in Prader-Willi and "Prader-Willi-Like" patients

J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 1999 Mar;38(3):329-34. doi: 10.1097/00004583-199903000-00021.


Objective: To compare obsessive-compulsive (OC) symptoms in patients with Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) and symptoms in a group of patients presenting with "Prader-Willi-like" features but without the genetic abnormalities associated with PWS.

Method: 16 patients aged 4 through 20 years were evaluated in a clinic specializing in the assessment and management of behavioral and food-related problems in PWS. Eight patients were found to have key features of the syndrome but did not have a PWS genotype. These PWS-like subjects were matched to 8 clinic patients with a confirmed deletion of the PWS critical region of the paternally derived chromosome 15. All subjects were evaluated for obesity, IQ, food-related problems, maladaptive behaviors, and non-food-related OC symptoms.

Results: There were no differences between the 2 groups with respect to measures of obesity, IQ, food-related difficulties, or overall maladaptive behaviors. The PWS group showed significantly greater numbers of OC symptoms and greater symptom severity.

Conclusions: Patients with PWS have elevated numbers of OC symptoms and significant symptom-related impairment which are not explained by developmental delay, food-related difficulties, or obesity. OC symptoms are part of a behavioral phenotype that accompanies deletions on the proximal long arm of chromosome 15 in PWS.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child Behavior Disorders / diagnosis
  • Child Behavior Disorders / genetics
  • Child Behavior Disorders / psychology
  • Child, Preschool
  • Chromosome Deletion
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 15
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / diagnosis*
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / genetics
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / psychology
  • Phenotype
  • Prader-Willi Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • Prader-Willi Syndrome / genetics
  • Prader-Willi Syndrome / psychology