Strep throat might trigger some childhood cases of obsessive-compulsive disorder, suggesting penicillin could help some kids with the psychiatric condition, a researcher says.
People with obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD, have unwanted thoughts such as fear of contamination or impending harm, and often perform rituals like excessive handwashing or counting. They know the rituals are senseless, but they can’t help themselves.
About 1 percent of grade-school-age children have OCD, said Dr. Susan E. Swedo, acting scientific director of the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, Md. Overall, about 2 percent of the United States population has OCD, she said.
Swedo said the theory is that blood proteins called antibodies that are supposed to latch onto strep germs may trigger OCD by mistakenly attacking certain parts of the brain.
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter
Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.