News on Wellness

Discovered A Genetic Marker for Obsessive-compulsive Disorder

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A group of scientists from the Johns Hopkins University School Of Medicine have discovered a Genetic Marker that might be associated with the development of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), a mental disorder, in people.

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OCD is a medical condition which is characterized by unwanted anxiety, intrusive thoughts that trigger ritualistic and repetitive behaviors in an attempt to overcome such thoughts. Mild forms of OCD can cause such behaviors up to an hour a day in an affected person while more severe forms of the condition can disable a person to an extent that they will be unable to leave their home.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for OCD, but symptoms can be managed through the use of antidepressants, such as selective serotonin inhibitors (SSRIs), behavioral therapy etc. But, such treatment has been found to be effective in only 60-70% of these cases.

The study was spearheaded by Gerald Nestadt, a professor at Johns Hopkins. He examined the genomes of 1,406 individuals suffering from OCD, around 1000 relatives of individuals with the afore-mentioned disorder and the general public. In all, the genomes of 5,061 persons were examined.

This research found a close relation between people suffering from OCD and Chromosome 9 that is close to a gene termed protein tyrosine phosphokinase (PTPRD).

According to the researchers, the detection of this genetic marker is of vital importance. They observed that in animals, PTRPD has been linked to memory and learning. These are areas that are normally influenced by OCD in human beings.

The researchers noted that PTRPD has also been linked to cases of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), which shares the same symptoms with OCD.

Elinor Karlsson, a senior author of this study, is of the view that detecting genetic variations that lead to OCD in dogs might lead to a better assessment of the neural pathways associated with the disease.

The study was published online by the journal Molecular Psychiatry on 13th May.

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