Objective: The authors assessed selective basal ganglia involvement in a subgroup of children with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and/or tics believed to be associated with streptococcal infection.
Method: Using computer-assisted morphometric techniques, they analyzed the cerebral magnetic resonance images of 34 children with presumed streptococcus-associated OCD and/or tics and 82 healthy comparison children who were matched for age and sex.
Results: The average sizes of the caudate, putamen, and globus pallidus, but not of the thalamus or total cerebrum, were significantly greater in the group of children with streptococcus-associated OCD and/or tics than in the healthy children. The differences were similar to those found previously for subjects with Sydenham's chorea compared with normal subjects.
Conclusions: These results support the hypothesis that there is a distinct subgroup of subjects with OCD and/or tics who have enlarged basal ganglia. These findings are consistent with the hypothesis of an autoimmune response to streptococcal infection.