Memory and strategic processing in first-degree relatives of obsessive compulsive patients

C. Segals, Pino Alonso, Eduardo Corte-Real, A. Garcia, A. Miñambres, J. Labad, A. Pertusa, Ana B Bueno, S. Jiménez-Murcia, José M. Menchón

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Background The same executive dysfunctions and alterations in neuroimaging tests (both functional and structural) have been found in obsessive-compulsive patients and their first-degree relatives. These neurobiological findings are considered to be intermediate markers of the disease. The aim of our study was to assess verbal and non-verbal memory in unaffected first-degree relatives, in order to determine whether these neuropsychological functions constitute a new cognitive marker for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).Method Recall and use of organizational strategies in verbal and non-verbal memory tasks were measured in 25 obsessive-compulsive patients, 25 unaffected first-degree relatives and 25 healthy volunteers.Results First-degree relatives and healthy volunteers did not show differences on most measures of verbal memory. However, during the recall and processing of non-verbal information, deficits were found in first-degree relatives and patients compared with healthy volunteers.Conclusions The presence of the same deficits in the execution of non-verbal memory tasks in OCD patients and unaffected first-degree relatives suggests the influence of certain genetic and/or familial factors on this cognitive function in OCD and supports the hypothesis that deficits in non-verbal memory tasks could be considered as cognitive markers of the disorder.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2001-2011
Number of pages11
JournalPsychological Medicine
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2010


  • Endophenotype
  • executive dysfunction
  • neuropsychology
  • non-verbal memory
  • obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • organizational strategies
  • verbal memory

Cite this

Segals, C., Alonso, P., Corte-Real, E., Garcia, A., Miñambres, A., Labad, J., Pertusa, A., Bueno, A. B., Jiménez-Murcia, S., & Menchón, J. M. (2010). Memory and strategic processing in first-degree relatives of obsessive compulsive patients. Psychological Medicine, 40(12), 2001-2011.