New study suggests brain glitch may cause OCD

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HARTFORD – Scientists may be a step closer to having a good target for drugs that could treat at least some cases of the misery-rendering malady of obsessive-compulsive disorder, according to

A new study in the journal Biological Psychiatry finds that when a certain receptor in the brain goes into warp overdrive, it causes symptoms in mice that look a lot like OCD in humans: The rodents can’t stop licking and grooming themselves. They also showed signs of anxiety. What’s more, when the researchers took the receptor activity back down to normal levels, the OCD behavior went away in minutes.

“[This] raises the possibility that this receptor and its signaling pathway in the brain may have a role in people with compulsive behavioral problems,” said senior author Nicole Calakos, MD, PhD, associate professor of neurology and neurobiology at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina. “A really important next step is finding just which people and just which problem.”

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