Background: For treatment-refractory Obsessive-Compulsive-Disorder (OCD) patients, anterior capsulotomy is a potential therapy. We investigated what kinds of cognitive deficits treatment-refractory patients have and how anterior capsulotomy modifies their clinical and cognitive profiles.
Methods: Ten treatment-refractory OCD patients were examined in two groups (operated and non-operated) with 5 participants in each group, matched for symptom severity, gender, age and education. The operated group was treated with anterior capsulotomy; the non-operated group was treated only with pharmaco- and psychotherapy. The Yale-Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Rating Scale (Y-BOCS) was used to measure OCD symptoms, and ten neuropsychological tests were used to measure cognitive functioning.
Results: In the operated group, the score of Y-BOCS score significantly decreased during the two-year follow-up period. Additionally, we found a significant increase in neuropsychological test scores on the Wechsler Intelligence Test (MAWI), California Sorting Test Part A (CST-A), Stroop Test Interference Score (STR-I), Verbal Fluency Test and Iowa Gambling Test. As a negative result, we observed intrusion errors in the Category Fluency Test. In the non-operated group significant improvement was found in Y-BOCS scores. At follow-up, we found significant differences between the operated and non-operated groups on three neuropsychological tests: Trail Making Test Part B, Repeatable Battery for the Assessment of Neuropsychological Status (RBANS) Attention Index and RBANS Language Index, with better performance in the non-operated group.
Conclusions: Both treatment methods (i.e. anterior capsulotomy and pharmaco- and psychotherapy) seem effective in reducing OCD symptoms and cognitive deficits, but, importantly, to different degrees. The clinical and neuropsychological improvements were more impressive in the operated group.
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