Piling up useless things is all in brain

People who find it difficult to throw away their useless things, suffer from ‘hoarding disorder’ and lack decision making skills, researchers have claimed.

In a study by American researchers shows for the first time that a particular brains region related to decision making becomes over-active when hoarders are asked to dispose off their own possessions, irrespective of how useless they are, the Daily Mail reported.

The researchers of the Institute of Living, Hartford, Connecticut, used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to measure brain activity when decisions had to be made about whether to keep or discard possessions.

The brain scans compared the reactions of 43 patients diagnosed with hoarding disorder, with 31 patients with obsessive compulsive disorder and a group of 33 healthy individuals.

The objects used in the study were paper items, such as junk mail and newspapers, that either did or did not belong to the participants.The researchers found patients with hoarding disorder had abnormal activity in the anterior cingulate cortex and other regions involved with decision-making and categorization.

When deciding about items that did not belong to them, the patients had relatively low activity in those brain regions.

“These differences in neural function correlated significantly with hoarding severity and self-ratings of indecisiveness among patients with hoarding disorder and were unattributable to OCD or depressive symptoms,” study leader Dr David Tolin said.

There is a “subjective sense that the wrong decision is being made” Tolin said.

The study suggests hoarding disorder exists in its own right, and is not just a symptom of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) as doctor have long thought. Up to 3 million Britons are believed to suffer from hoarding disorder, which some have dismissed as laziness or untidiness.

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