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Science Knows What’s Probably Causing Your OCD

The term “OCD” gets thrown around a lot (when looking at perfectly organized fridges that are strangely satisfying, for example), but the realities of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder involve a whole lot more than an insanely kept house. As actress Amanda Seyfried bravely revealed last October, OCD actually entails many different, often times debilitating symptoms. Now, the conversation is taking an exciting new turn, as German researchers may have just found the true cause behind it.

Published in Molecular Psychiatry, the study, which was carried out on mice, discovered that “OCD-like behavior is caused by dysfunction of thalamo-amygdala circuits and upregulated TrkB/ERK-MAPK signaling as a result of SPRED2 deficiency.” Um, what? Let’s break that down a bit in Layman’s terms, shall we?

Conducted by Professor Kai Schuh from the Institute of Physiology at the Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg and his team in Germany, the study is the very first to identify a possible single cause, rather than a mix of factors, of OCD: a deficiency of what is known as the SPRED2 protein.

As explained by Science Daily, SPRED2 is found in all cells of the body but is present “in particularly high concentrations in regions of the brain, namely in the basal ganglia and the amygdala.” So, something we all use to function on a daily basis. Got it. Normally, the protein likes to hang out in a particular pathway known as “Ras/ERK-MAP kinase cascade,” where it essentially works to slow things down. When it is missing, however, this signal pathway more or less goes haywire. What that translates into is an overactive mind, which, in the case of the mice being tested, manifested itself in “excessive self-grooming, reflecting OCD-like behavior.”

So how do we treat it? The same study confirmed that a popular OCD treatment, fluoxetine, did indeed work on the mice. Professor Schuh also thinks there may actually be another form of treatment already available. An overactive Ras/ERK-MAP kinase cascade can also cause cancer, which, while scary, would mean that some current cancer drugs could actually work to treat OCD as well.

Either way, it’s definitely a step in a very positive direction. Way to go, science!

What do you make of these new findings? Tweet us @BritandCo.

(h/t Teen Vogue, photo via Kevin Winter/Getty)

Barbara Pavone
Barbara Pavone is a pop culture-obsessed writer based in beautiful (but ridiculously cold) Montreal, Canada. When she's not working, she's sipping on a Pimm's Cup and daydreaming about her celebrity hero, Saint West.

Ahhh, fall. There are so many things to love about this time of year (give us ALL the sweaters and pumpkin-flavored eats). But, high on the list comes autumn decor candles, throws, textiles — you name it. Of course, buying items and actually adding them to your room are two different things. So we're turning to Instagram for the best styling advice and inspo for the season. Scroll on to see everything you need to get those wheels turning!

@sbkliving: Sometimes, it only takes a chic doormat to transition your front steps for the season. Hello, fall!

@rachelpuccetti: Excuse us while we spend an entire lazy Sunday relaxing in this fall-infused space.

@farmhousetofrills: A monochrome mantel never looked so chic. (That fireplace pumpkin setup is seriously *genius*.)

@faith_hope_home: Greet guests with a fall-themed entrance to set the tone for a day of pumpkin carving or scary movie marathoning.

@simplysoutherncottage: Don't forget about those nooks and crannies! This entryway/mudroom situation is capturing our little harvest-loving hearts.

@6thirtydecor: Speaking of pumpkins, pick up a few extra gourds to pave the way into your cozy autumn abode.

@farmsteadonfirst: That guest bedroom you weren't sure what to do with it? Transform it into a rustic retreat with some fall signage and mustard-yellow and green accents.

@fiddleleafinteriors: We're going to take a second to *swoon* over this adorable kitchen setup. Those farmhouse accents and simple centerpiece setup? We're in love.

@ohmydearblog: Contrary to what you think, florals *aren't* just for spring. Bring them into your abode by selecting buds in moody tones to pay homage to the season.

@simply.mrs.z: Drawn to modern style? Play up the Halloween vibes by picking black, orange and brass accents to rock on places like your bookshelf. (Bonus points for carrying the theme over to your textiles.)

@drivewaytodreams_crystal: We're going to go ahead and give two thumbs up to all of these orange-hued accents. Backdropped with a neutral furnishings and they truly *pop*!

@cripcollectiveig: For those who don't want to go overboard with the "fall stuff" this one will speak to you. Compile a couple of cute throws and a minimalist pumpkin print on your mantle and you're set

@cavcottage: Who said fun pillows were limited to furnishings only? We're ALL about this entry display.

@houseon77th: This daybed setup is a *dream*. But actually, this would be the perfect space to doze off in come the colder days.

@kristenforgione: For a more festive Halloween look, overhaul your living space with a spooky handmade addition like this one. *Googles paper bat DIYs.*