Friday, July 20, 2007

Strep & OCD

I've been doing some research on the brain. (When am I not doing research on the brain?) Apparently, researchers have found a link between the Streptococcus bacteria and OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder). Who knew?! This is old news by the way and I'm getting an awful case of deja vu thinking I've written about this before, so if you've already read this, here or elsewhere, forgive me.

Here's an excerpt from the NIMH site:

"A likely mechanism by which a bacterial infection triggers obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) in some children has been demonstrated by scientists at the National Institutes of Health's (NIH) National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and collaborators at California State University (CSU) and the University of Oklahoma (UO). Their research suggests that an antibody against strep throat bacteria sometimes mistakenly acts on a brain enzyme, disrupting communications between neurons and causing a form of obsessive compulsive and related tic disorder in children — pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders associated with streptococci (PANDAS)."

Now, this gives me pause to think about the implications of bacteria and viruses on our mental health. Other than the acronym they've lovingly chose for this condition (PANDAS), there is nothing cute about OCD. It's debilitating. As are mental disorders of any type. I really wonder how much of our mental state is affected by micro-organisms. The three pound universe is vast my friend, and not easily navigated. And we've only just begun.

tall penguin

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