Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Study Shows Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Runs In Families

Date:
April 26, 2000
Source:
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions
Summary:
Researchers have laid to rest the myth that another mental disorder stems from “bad parenting.” A new study from Johns Hopkins has shown that obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, tends to run in families and has a strong genetic basis.

Researchers have laid to rest the myth that another mental disorder stems from “bad parenting.” A new study from Johns Hopkins has shown that obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, tends to run in families and has a strong genetic basis.

People with a first degree relative with OCD — brothers, sisters and parents — have a five times greater risk of having the illness themselves at some time in their lives, according to results of the study published in the April Archives of General Psychiatry.

The researchers identified 80 patients with OCD and 343 of their first-degree relatives and compared them with 73 control patients without mental illness and 300 of their relatives. The results showed the strong familial link for the most common form of the disorder, which strikes in childhood.

Marked by persistent, intrusive, senseless thoughts (obsessions) and repetitive behaviors that can’t be ignored (compulsions), OCD has been called one of the 10 most disabling medical conditions worldwide by the World Health Organization. It has also long evaded psychiatrists’ attempts to show that genes play a role in who gets the disorder. “We’ve known OCD as a psychiatric condition for more than a century,” says psychiatrist Gerald Nestadt, M.D., who led the research team, “But doubts have remained about the hereditary nature.”

“There is surely some environmental aspect to OCD,” says Nestadt. “If your mother is constantly washing her hands and worrying over it, that could have an effect. But what’s obvious to investigators is that, in patients with affected family members, their behavior isn’t necessarily the same as the family member’s. A patient whose mother washed her hands might, for example, have to check light switches over and over. They both have an obsession, but their behavior is different. And that points to a biological basis.”

Psychiatric studies where researchers must evaluate large numbers of people often suffer from the common bugaboo of unintentional bias, Nestadt says. This may be a reason behind inconclusive results of earlier studies that tried to link heredity and OCD.

This current research, he says, used patients from different clinics, in order to avoid institutional bias. Diagnosing researchers were blinded as to a patient’s condition.

The study opens the door to the next step, identifying the actual gene(s) involved, says Nestadt.

OCD affects as high as 3 percent of the world’s population. Although it touches all ages, the period of greatest risk is from childhood to middle age. Twin studies have shown identical twins have a higher incidence of OCD — almost 90 percent — than fraternal twins, where the odds of both having the disorder is close to 50 percent.

The study was funded by NIH grants. Other researchers are Jack Samuels, Ph.D., Mark Riddle, M.D., O. Joseph Bienvenu III, M.D., Kung-Yee Liang, Ph.D., Michele LaBuda, Ph.D., John Walkup, M.D., Marco Grados, M.D., and Rudolph Hoehn-Saric, M.D.

Related Website: http://www.med.jhu.edu/jhhpsychiatry/ocdstudy.htm


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. "Study Shows Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Runs In Families." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 April 2000. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/04/000426080211.htm>.
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. (2000, April 26). Study Shows Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Runs In Families. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/04/000426080211.htm
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. "Study Shows Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Runs In Families." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/04/000426080211.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) A medical team has for the first time given a man the ability to walk again after transplanting cells from his brain onto his severed spinal cord. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Portable Breathalyzer Gets You Home Safely

Portable Breathalyzer Gets You Home Safely

Buzz60 (Oct. 21, 2014) Breeze, a portable breathalyzer, gets you home safely by instantly showing your blood alcohol content, and with one tap, lets you call an Uber, a cab or a friend from your contact list to pick you up. Sean Dowling (@SeanDowlingTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Your Birth Season Might Determine Your Temperament

Your Birth Season Might Determine Your Temperament

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) A new study says the season you're born in can determine your temperament — and one season has a surprising outcome. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Movies Might Desensitize Violence For Parents, Not Just Kids

Movies Might Desensitize Violence For Parents, Not Just Kids

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) A study suggests that parents become desensitized to violent movies as well as children, which leads them to allow their kids to view violent films. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins