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Does Hoarding Run in the Family?

If you are the kind of person who fills the attic, the basement and the garage with clutter, you may be able to blame your compulsive hoarding on your ancestors. At least that’s the conclusion of a large twin study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry. The investigation involved both fraternal and identical twins, which allowed the researchers to separate environmental factors from genetic influence. Fraternal twins do not share exactly the same DNA the way identical twins do. When one female identical twin demonstrated compulsive hoarding behavior, more than half the time her twin shared similar symptoms. Such was not the case with fraternal twins, suggesting that nature trumps nurture when it comes to hoarding.

[American Journal of Psychiatry, October 2009]

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies..
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