More than 2 million individuals in the United States are impacted by obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). It is unidentified as to what leads to this condition, but scientists from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine say they have discovered a genetic marker that may offer hints.
OCD is a psychiatric problem. It is characterized by intrusive and undesirable anxiety-resulting in thoughts that lead to recurring and ritualistic behaviours in an effort to get over such thoughts.
For instance, a individual may have a constant, unreasonable worry about germs or pollution; therefore they feel the require to continuously wash their hands – in some cases for hours at a time.
Mild types of OCD can add up to an hour a day to an individual’s routine, while more severe types of the situation can turn off a person so much that they are not able to leave their home.
There is no treatment for OCD, but symptoms can be controlled via behavioral therapy and antidepressant medications, like as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). On the other hand, it is estimated that such medicine therapy only works in 60-65% of cases.
But the Johns Hopkins scientists say their latest discoveries, recently released in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, may guide to a much better knowing of the condition and new treatments.
OCD sufferers ‘have a link near PTPRD gene’
For the research, lead by Dr. Gerald Nestadt, the team examined the genomes of 1,406 individuals with OCD, more than 1,000 close family members of individuals with the condition, along with people from the general public. In overall, the genomes of 5,052 people were scanned.
From this, the scientists identified that sufferers with OCD had a considerable association on chromosome 9 near a gene known as protein tyrosine phosphokinase (PTPRD).
This finding of this genetic marker is of great significance, with respect to the researchers. They notice that in preclinical studies, the PTPRD gene has been connected with learning and memory – areas that are affected by OCD in humans.
The group says that the gene has also been connected with some cases of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) – a situation that has related symptoms to OCD. In inclusion, the PTPRD gene cooperates with a different gene family known as SLITRK, which has been connected to OCD in animals.
Leaving comments on the team’s discoveries, Dr. Nestadt states that:
“OCD study has lagged behind other psychiatric conditions in terms of genetics. We wish this exciting finding provides us closer to producing better sense of it and assists us discover ways to cure it.”