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Archive for the ‘OCD’ Category

PandaMedscape (9/30, Cassels) reported that research from the UK indicates that “streptococcal infections (SIs) do not appear to cause or trigger obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) or Tourette syndrome (TS) — findings that run contrary to several earlier smaller studies.” According to the paper published online Sept. 30 in Neurology, “SI can induce autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders, in particular Syndenham chorea.” Thus, scientists have speculated that “the association may extend to tic disorders, OCD, and other neuropsychiatric disorders with onset in childhood.” In other words, “the process of molecular mimicry, where by antibodies directed against bacterial antigens cross-react with brain targets,” has been implicated in the pathogenesis of pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders associated with streptococcal infections (PANDAS).  But, after reviewing data on “4,774 children and young adults in the UK,” WebMD (9/30, Hitti) reported that researchers at the UK’s University College London “found no evidence of that connection.” Investigators were quick to point out, however, “that their findings don’t rule out any possibility of such a link, but that a very large, prospective study that ‘may be prohibitively expensive’ isn’t supported by current evidence.”

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bacteria and virusThe UK’s Daily Mail (8/18, Dobson) reports that researchers say some mental illnesses or conditions “might have links to viruses or bacteria.” For example, “streptococci bacteria, which [cause] many sore throats,” may “play a role in the development of OCD” when, “in some people, the antibodies produced to attack the bacteria home in on the brain, causing changes in behavior.” Another study indicated that “children born to mothers who had a herpes infection during pregnancy were six times more likely to get schizophrenia.” Now, some researchers even theorize that “herpes simplex, the cold sore virus, is a major cause of the protein plaques found in the brains of Alzheimer’s sufferers.” Professor Ruth Itzhaki, of Manchester University, explained, “It’s thought the virus enters the brain in the elderly as their immune systems decline and is the activated by events, such as stress. This causes severe damage in brain cells, most of which disintegrate, releasing amyloid aggregates which develop into amyloid plaques.”

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The Washington Post (2/24, H2, Vedantam) reports that last week, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) “approved ‘deep brain stimulation’ for the treatment of intractable obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD.” The technique “involves surgically implanting electrodes deep within the brain to trigger electrical activity,” and it’s “the first time” it “has been approved for use in a psychiatric condition. The implants have been previously used to treat Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders.” According to the Post, “the FDA approval suggests officials believe that deep brain stimulation might help reduce anxiety. The device was approved for use when conventional treatments, such as medications and talk therapy, have not worked.” The decision was based “on a small study that found deep brain stimulation improved the condition of 26 patients with persistent obsessive-compulsive disorder by an average of 40 percent.” The particular “device approved by the FDA is called Reclaim and is manufactured by Medtronic Inc.”

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