Researchers have yet to discover a cure for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), a debilitating anxiety illness. However, new information on the gene mutation that causes dicarboxylic aminoaciduria, a kidney disorder, is helping experts understand how to diagnose OCD in patients.
A study recently conducted by the Centenary Institute found that a non-invasive urine test may be able to detect the gene mutation, according to Science Alert. By performing the tests, physicians might be capable of identifying OCD in children and treating it before it spirals out of control.
Experts say that SLC1A1 gene acts as a protein pump, filtering through food and collecting significant amino acids for the body. However, the same gene is the pump for amino acids that flow through the brain and act as neurotransmitters. A mutation in SLC1A1 can result in anxiety disorders, such as OCD.
More than 2 million Americans suffer from OCD every year, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Some individuals develop the condition after enduring trauma, but genetics may also play a role in whether a person suffers from a disorder later in life. Rehabilitation programs, counseling and medication can help patients with OCD manage the condition over time.