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Study Sheds Light on Compulsive Hoarding

Most people save and collect objects that have special meaning. But some people save such large amounts of materials and items that their lives become focused exclusively on the collecting and keeping. In the disorder's worst form, people are unable to throw away even their garbage. They're called compulsive hoarders, and it's estimated they number 1 million Americans.

Now, a new brain imaging study is providing evidence about the specific brain circuits involved in compulsive hoarding. NPR's Michelle Trudeau reports on the research appearing in the June issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry.

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Michelle Trudeau began her radio career in 1981, filing stories for NPR from Beijing and Shanghai, China, where she and her husband lived for two years. She began working as a science reporter and producer for NPR's Science Desk since 1982. Trudeau's news reports and feature stories, which cover the areas of human behavior, child development, the brain sciences, and mental health, air on NPR's Morning Edition and All Things Considered.