By Staff Writer
A new study from researchers at Cornell University has found that many of the ritualistic behaviors associated with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) may be traceable to a single gene, suggesting a hereditary component to the condition.
While researchers were investigating the effects of restricting certain genes in mice that they believed would result in brain and vascular conditions, they noticed that mice began showing symptoms similar to OCD.
Mice that lacked the gene spent excessive time grooming themselves and refused to enter wide open spaces. Shahin Rafii, who led the study, said that previous investigations had shown that individuals who developed the disorder often have a family history of it. The finding may point to at least one of the specific genes associated with OCD.
“Overall, our data suggest that [the gene] may have a central role in the development of the core symptoms of OCD – self-injurious, repetitive behavior and increased anxiety,” Rafii said.
However, the study also found that some of the more common therapies provided at treatment centers were effective at reducing these symptoms.