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OCD linked to childhood illness


Strep throat, a common infection for children, is linked to future problems with a child’s heart, joints or brain when left untreated. When the brain gets involved, motor and mental functioning may be affected. This could lead to disorders like attention deficit disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder according to research.

The link between strep and OCD has long been suspected. It has been examined for more than twenty years with some research and lots of speculation. Now researchers from Tel Aviv University have scientifically demonstrated that strep can lead to brain dysfunction and OCD. Professor Daphna Joel and her team believe their research could lead to new drugs for treating OCD and may diminish the number of people who suffer from it.

“It’s almost impossible to show how strep can lead to OCD in humans – almost all of us, even very young children, have been exposed to the bacterium at one time or another,” says Joel. “But childhood seems to provide a distinct window of opportunity for the disorder to take root through strep infection.”

The research team started with strep exposed rats which had developed antibodies found deposited in their brains. Those exposed developed balance and coordination issues as well as compulsive behaviors seen in grooming habits.

More important, the strep antibody bonded to dopamine D1 and D2 receptors in the brain. “We were able to show that these antibodies are binding to receptors in the brain and changing the way certain neurotransmitters operate, leading to brain dysfunction and motor and behavioral symptoms,” concluded Joel.

Source: American Friends of Tel Aviv University, MedicalNewsToday

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