Identifying brain variations may help physicians predict which patients will respond to a neurosurgical procedure to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) that does not respond to medication or cognitive-behavioral therapies, according to a report published by JAMA Psychiatry.

OCD is a debilitating disorder characterized by repetitive intentional behaviors and intrusive thoughts. About 10 percent to 20 percent of patients have refractory OCD, which does not respond to medication or therapy to achieve symptom relief, and therefore the patients may be candidates for surgical treatment. The dorsal anterior cingulotomy is such a procedure and involves lesioning (causing damage to) a region of the brain that is believed to play a role in the neural network that causes OCD, according to the study background.