As was pointed out by WRCBtv.com out of Chattanooga today, The Broad Institute in Massachusetts and Uppsala University in Sweden have been conducting research on this very topic. They have pinpointed four genes with variances that were present in canines that were diagnosed with OCD, but not in a comparison group of dogs that included Greyhounds and Leonbergers (Lion Dogs); the latter of which do not show high rates of canine OCD.
The four genes discovered are included amongst those whose job is to form simple connections between brain cells that allow them to transmit information. Our brains contain thousands, if not millions, of cells that connect in this very way in order to form a circuit in our brains. Elinor Karlsson, Ph.D. explains that when a circuit of this caliber is broken, that is when OCD occurs. Perhaps that is why a dog will lick its paw until he or she injures it or that a human will wash their hands until they bleed. Hopefully now we can find some relief for this debilitating disorder – for both humans and canines!
Since the human brain is more complex than the canine brain, the disorder tends to be more complex in human beings, but it is difficult to witness your dog suffering from OCD and there is not a thing you can do to stop it! That is why this research is so essential; once again man’s best friend is coming through in the clutch for the human species!
The hope is that the simple genetic architectural structure of the canine will lend itself to the more complicated architectural structure of the human brain and the human OCD factor. Since about one in every 100 adults and at least one in 200 children and teens tend to be affected by Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, it would be important to find something to help this massive amount of people.
Whatever is discovered can potentially help with the counseling, cognitive behavioral therapy and medications properly administered and in the right dosage. It is very important that the correct treatment of OCD be applied so as to help both people and dogs through this illness.
Misdiagnosis can lead to further issues such as intense anxiety as well as time-consuming and embarrassing compulsive behaviors that cannot stop without help. The people that have OCD do not want to carry forth this behavior, but are unable to stop.
So far what has been discovered in the canines is helping them; the OCD treatments are working. Let’s just hope that this means only good things for the humans struggling with this illness in the near future!