Our group studies the genetics of compulsive hoarding (CH), the neurocognitive profiles of individuals with CH and the neurocognitive profiles of their family members, the relationship of CH to other neuropsychiatric disorders such as OCD and ADHD, and quality of life and disability related to CH symptoms.
Genetics of CH: Our group and others have shown that CH runs in families, and that it most likely has a genetic etiology. However, genes for CH have not yet been identified. Our genetic studies of CH are ongoing, and are currently focused on studies of families who have individuals affected with CH or OCD or both. We have collected an initial set of families from Costa Rica and the US and are currently conducting genetic analysis, but are still recruiting families for this study.
Neurocognitive profiles in CH: We have evidence that individuals with CH have specific differences in neuropsychological profiles from individuals without CH, including problems with categorization, difficulties with working memory, and problems with attention. We are continuing our examination of the neuropsychological, EEG-based, and neuroimaging (fMRI) profiles among individuals with CH, individuals with non-hoarding OCD, unaffected family members of these groups, and healthy controls. We are now recruiting for participation in this study.
CH and quality of life: In the context of a study of depression in older individuals, and in conjunction with colleagues at UCSF, we are examining the relationship between quality of life, physical disability, and psychiatric disability to CH. These analyses are ongoing.
CH and ADHD: We have recently completed a study (published in the journal Depression and Anxiety) examining the overlap between CH and ADHD, and have found that ADHD symptoms are very prevalent among people with CH. In our sample of individuals with OCD, 34% of those with CH had ADHD, and another 5% had ADHD symptoms but did not meet all of the requirements for a diagnosis. This is compared to the population prevalence for ADHD of 6%.