Yale scientists propose explanation for baffling form of childhood OCD

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ngd- I had a series of strep throat infections when I was 4-5 that led to symptoms like these (and mild tics) for several years after…

Yale scientists may have found a cause for the sudden onset of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) in some children, they report.

Pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders, or PANDAS, were first proposed in the 1990s. Thought to be triggered by streptococcal infections, they account for an unknown portion of youth OCD cases. But the biology underpinning this disorder has baffled scientists.

The new Yale research, published June 16 in the American Journal of Psychiatry, identifies antibodies that bind to particular brain cells called interneurons as an explanation.

“It is really OCD plus,” said senior author Christopher Pittenger, assistant chair for translational research, associate professor of psychiatry and a researcher in the Yale Child Study Center. “These children have OCD, but they can also have severe separation anxiety, subtle motor symptoms, and show frequent need to urinate. Many refuse to eat.”

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