A new study at the Tel Aviv University suggests that strep throat – a common infection in children - can lead to brain dysfunction and OCD.
Prof. Daphna Joel and her team of researchers have scientifically demonstrated that strep throat can lead to problems with a child's heart, joints or brain if left untreated. And when the brain is involved, motor and mental functioning may be compromised, leading to syndromes such as attention deficit disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
The team developed a new animal model to show how exposure to strep affects the brain and leads to a number of physical and mental ailments. Comparing them to a strep-free control group, Prof. Joel measured a distinct difference in behavior in the strep-exposed animals. The results showed that those exposed developed balance and coordination difficulties, as well as compulsive behaviors such as increased and repetitive grooming.
This breakthrough finding could lead to new modes of diagnosis of the disease and provide a new platform for drug developers seeking to treat or cure OCD.
OCD is characterized by recurrent intense obsessions and/or compulsions that may cause severe discomfort, anxiety and stress, and interfere with day-to-day functioning.
Prof. Joel stressed how important it is for parents who notice signs of strep throat to ensure that their children get treated with the appropriate antibiotics in a timely fashion.