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Behavioural Neurology
Volume 11, Issue 4, Pages 197-204

Neurological Soft Signs in Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: Standardised Assessment and Comparison with Schizophrenia

D. Bolton,1 W. Gibb,2 A. Lees,3 P. Raven,4 J. A. Gray,1 E. Chen,5 and R. Shafran6

1Psychology Department, Institute of Psychiatry, De Crespigny Park, London SE5 8AF, UK
2Wessex Neurological Centre, Southampton General Hospital, Southampton, UK
3National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, Queen Square, London, UK
4Department of Psychological Medicine, Royal Free Hospital, London, UK
5Department of Psychiatry, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
6Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford, Warneford Hospital, Oxford, UK

Received 1 April 1999; Accepted 1 April 1999

Copyright © 1999 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


While several studies have detected raised levels of neurological soft signs in patients with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), the specificity of these abnormalities remains uncertain. This study used a new standardised measure, the Cambridge Neurological Inventory (CNI), to assess soft signs in 51 subjects with OCD. Comparison was made with data on patients with schizophrenia and a non-clinical control group from a previously reported study. Individuals with OCD showed raised levels of soft signs compared with non-clinical controls in many categories of the CNI: Motor Coordination, Sensory Integration, Primitive Reflexes, Extrapyramidal Signs, and Failure of Suppression. Compared with patients with schizophrenia, the OCD group had lower levels of neurological signs in some CNI categories: Hard Signs, Motor Co-ordination, Tardive Dyskinesia, Catatonic Signs, and Extrapyramidal Signs. However, levels of soft signs in the OCD group did not significantly differ from those in the schizophrenia group in other CNI categories: Sensory Integration, Primitive Reflexes and Failure of Suppression. The significance of these patterns of findings is discussed.