Background: Neurobiologic abnormalities in the thalamus have been implicated in the pathophysiology of obsessive-compulsive disorder. We recently reported increased thalamic volume in treatment-naive pediatric obsessive-compulsive disorder patients versus case-matched healthy comparison subjects that decreased to levels comparable to control subjects after effective paroxetine therapy. To our knowledge, no prior study has measured neuroanatomic changes in the thalamus of obsessive-compulsive disorder patients near illness onset before and after cognitive behavioral therapy.
Methods: Volumetric magnetic resonance imaging studies were conducted in 11 psychotropic drug-naive 8-17-year-old children with obsessive-compulsive disorder before and after 12 weeks of effective cognitive behavioral therapy monotherapy (> or =30% reduction in obsessive-compulsive disorder symptom severity).
Results: No significant change in thalamic volume was observed in obsessive-compulsive disorder patients before and after cognitive behavioral therapy.
Conclusions: Our findings suggest that reduction in thalamic volume after paroxetine therapy may be specific to paroxetine treatment and not the result of a general treatment response or spontaneous improvement. These results are preliminary in view of the small sample studied.