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Strep Throat Does Not Cause OCD

A new research study suggests streptococcal infection does not appear to cause or trigger Tourette syndrome or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

“These results do not confirm other, smaller studies done in the U.S., which found an association between strep infection and these brain disorders,” said study author Anette Schrag, MD, of the University College London in the United Kingdom.

“Streptococcal infection has previously also been linked to other, much rarer neuropsychiatric disorders.”

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is an anxiety disorder characterized by unwanted thoughts or obsessions and repetitive behaviors. Tourette syndrome is a neurologic disorder characterized by repetitive, involuntary sounds and movements called tics.

The research is published in the online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

The study involved 255 people between the ages of 2 and 25 from a large, unselective population in the United Kingdom. Of those, 129 were diagnosed with OCD and 126 with Tourette syndrome or tics. Scientists compared the two groups with 4,519 people of similar ages without these disorders.

In the group with OCD, 15 percent had been exposed to a possible strep infection within two years of diagnosis. There was a similar rate among the comparative group of people without OCD.

In the group with Tourette syndrome or other tic disorders, 10 percent had been exposed to a possible strep infection within two years of diagnosis, similar to people without the disorder.

Researchers also looked at possible strep infections within five years of diagnosis of a strep infection.

The researchers found that people with OCD or Tourette syndrome and tics were no more likely to have had possible strep infections compared to people without these disorders at two years and five years.

Source: American Academy of Neurology

Strep Throat Does Not Cause OCD

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Strep Throat Does Not Cause OCD. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 22, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2009/10/01/strep-throat-does-not-cause-ocd/8697.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.