Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Baltimore scientists search for cause, treatment for hoarding

By Mary Carole McCauley

he table in Jack Samuels' Fells Point office is piled two feet high with books, papers, scientific journals and grant applications.

Samuels' wife likes to tease him that he has a hoarding problem, just like the people he studies. In reality, those stacks of paper might hold a remedy.

Samuels, an associate professor of psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University's School of Medicine, is the go-to guy nationwide for researchers seeking to understand the biological basis of hoarding — an intense, irrational drive to collect items in vast quantities, coupled with an inability to discard even objects that are worthless or broken.

Samuels established that hoarding occurs in approximately 5 percent of the population — a far larger number than was previously suspected — and linked compulsive hoarding behavior in some patients to chromosome 14..." More

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