Spit samples uncover genetic risk factors for pediatric obse
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Researchers have discovered genetic risk factors for OCD that could help pave the way for earlier diagnosis and improved treatment for children and youth.

The research drew on the Spit for Science study, a research project led by SickKids looking at how genes interact with the environment to impact physical and mental health. Participants provide a DNA sample through their saliva, do a cognitive task, and complete questionnaires on their health, lifestyle, and behaviors.

In this study, saliva samples from over 5,000 children and youth were scanned and compared to participant responses using the Toronto Obsessive-Compulsive Scale (TOCS). After looking across millions of genetic variants from the saliva samples, the team identified that children and youth with a genetic variant in the gene PTPRD had a greater risk for more obsessive-compulsive traits. The findings are published in Translational Psychiatry.

Discovering the genes involved in OCD is critical to help improve patients' lives. It is still early days, but our hope is these findings will lead us to understand the causes of OCD, which in turn could help identify people with OCD sooner and develop better treatments.

Translational Psychiatry
Source: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41398-020-01121-9
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