"OCD once was thought to be primarily psychological in origin," says Yin Yao Shugart, Ph.D., statistical geneticist and associate professor of epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. "But now there is growing evidence that there is a genetic basis behind OCD, which will help us better understand the condition," she says.
OCD is characterized by intrusive and senseless thoughts and impulses that together are defined as obsessions, as well as repetitive and intentional behaviors, referred to as compulsions. OCD is estimated to affect up to 3 percent of the American population.
In what the research team describes as the first whole-genome scan to look for genetic "markers" or similarities in the genomes of people with OCD, results identified six potentially significant regions in the genome, which lie on five different chromosomes that appear "linked" to OCD. It's likely that any genes directly associated OCD are to be found in these regions.
"We've long suspected that, rather than being caused by a single gene, OCD has multiple genetic associations," says Jack Samuels, Ph.D., an epidemiologist and assistant professor of psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.
To conduct the study, the researchers collected blood samples from 1,008 individuals from a total of 219 families in which at least two siblings were clinically diagnosed with OCD.
DNA from each sample was analyzed by the Hopkins Center for Inherited Disease Research (CIDR) using both molecular biology and statistical analysis computer programs. Specific DNA sequences – known as genetic markers – on chromosomes 1, 7, 6, and 15 and two markers on chromosome 3 appear more frequently in the patients with OCD than in those without it. The researchers want to further analyze the genetic regions they identified in this report and use more markers to possibly narrow down these regions to identify OCD risk genes.
The researchers suggest that whatever genes are found don't directly cause OCD but increase risk for it in conjunction with other genes or environmental factors.
"OCD is a relative newcomer to these genetic linkage studies," says Shugart, "so it's extremely important to follow up these findings by looking at more families and using more markers to assess the role of gene-environment interactions in OCD. "We are also very interested in finding genes underlying the different subtypes of OCD," she says.
Careful genetic analysis of different clinical categories of OCD has been limited by currently existing computer programs used in analyzing this type of data. The vast amount of data used in whole-genome analysis requires fine-tuned statistical calculations. The research team is eager to develop new methods in this area. "We predict that such findings may have immediate clinical implications for OCD patients," says Shugart.
Switch-in-a-cell electrifies life
18.12.2018 | Rice University
Plant biologists identify mechanism behind transition from insect to wind pollination
18.12.2018 | University of Toronto
Researchers from the University of Basel have reported a new method that allows the physical state of just a few atoms or molecules within a network to be controlled. It is based on the spontaneous self-organization of molecules into extensive networks with pores about one nanometer in size. In the journal ‘small’, the physicists reported on their investigations, which could be of particular importance for the development of new storage devices.
Around the world, researchers are attempting to shrink data storage devices to achieve as large a storage capacity in as small a space as possible. In almost...
The more objects we make "smart," from watches to entire buildings, the greater the need for these devices to store and retrieve massive amounts of data quickly without consuming too much power.
Millions of new memory cells could be part of a computer chip and provide that speed and energy savings, thanks to the discovery of a previously unobserved...
What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...
A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.
The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...
A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.
Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...
12.12.2018 | Event News
10.12.2018 | Event News
06.12.2018 | Event News
18.12.2018 | Materials Sciences
18.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
18.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy