By Thomas Insel on March 26, 2012
Dr. Insel discusses the connection between mental disorders and infection in light of pediatric neuropsychiatric disorders PANS and PANDAS.
NIMH experts discuss childhood rapid-onset OCD during our next Twitter chat on May 8, 2013.
The syndrome, Pediatric Acute-onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome (PANS), includes children and teens that suddenly develop on-again/off-again OCD symptoms or abnormal eating behaviors, along with other psychiatric symptoms – without any known cause. An immune-based treatment study is underway at NIH.
Youth with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) who are already taking antidepressant medication benefit by adding a type of psychotherapy called cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), according to an NIMH-funded study published September 21, 2011, in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Mice bred to harbor mutations similar to those discovered in people with autism show autism-like repetitive behaviors and social impairments. The behaviors, triggered by deletions in a gene called SHANK3, implicated in some cases of autism, were traced to weak neural connections for functions disturbed in autism.
For the first time, inherited disruption of gene expression in a brain system for social behavior has been implicated in autism. NIMH grantee Margaret Pericak-Vance, Ph.D., at the University of Miami and Simon Gregory, Ph.D., at Duke University, and a multinational team of researchers found evidence for such epigenetic effects on the gene for the oxytocin receptor -- part of a brain system that mediates social behaviors disturbed in autism. The findings suggest a potential genetic biomarker for the disorder.