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Optogenetics is proving to be highly promising in the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorders
Date:6/7/2013

By applying light stimulation to highly specific neurons in the brain, the researchers managed to re-establish normal behaviour in mice that had beforehand presented pathological repetitive behaviour similar to that observed in human patients suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorders.

These results are published in the journal Science of June 7th 2013.

Repetitive behaviour is characterised by a certain number of neuro-psychiatric disorders, in particular obsessive-compulsive disorders, that develop to such an extent that they become a real handicap to daily life (for example, washing hands up to 30 times a day; or checking excessively that a door is locked, etc.). Obsessive-compulsive disorders affect 2 to 3% of the population and in France, it is estimated that over one million persons are affected by this disorder.

The usual treatment for obsessive-compulsive disorders is to use pharmacological treatments (anti-depressants, neuroleptics) and/or behavioural psychotherapy. However, in spite of these therapeutic combinations, severe symptoms persist in around one third of patients. So it is necessary to gain better understanding of the cerebral mechanisms that cause these repetitive behaviour patterns in order to provide better treatment.

Previous neuroimaging studies allowed us to identify dysfunctioning in neuron circuits located between the front of the brain (the orbitofrontal cortex) and more deep-seated cerebral structures (the ganglions at the base on the brain), in certain persons suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorders.

In this new study, Eric Burguire and his co-workers (in the laboratory of Pr. Ann Graybiel in the MIT) concentrated their research on this neuron circuit in order to both examine its function in detail and also to develop an approach to treating obsessive-compulsive disorders in a mutant mouse model.

In these mutant mice, the obsessive behaviour was expressed by repea
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Contact: Eric Burguière
eric.burguiere@icm-institute.org
INSERM (Institut national de la sant et de la recherche mdicale)
Source:Eurekalert

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