Old Drug Takes on New Use in OCD Battle

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New advances in the production of effective therapies for OCD in children are being made.

Paediatric-onset obsessive compulsive disorder has undergone a great deal of research of late.

It has been determined that there are many commonalities between the condition and Tourette’s disorder.

Many Similarities

They share a multitude of similarities, regarding their physical features, the way in which they can both be treated, and the genetic factors which play a part in determining their existence in the young patient are very similar also.

Not Enough

The authors of a new study into the domain of childhood OCD are still adamant however that not enough study has been conducted into this area, as yet there are very limited moderators, validated predictors and methods of treatment response.

Riluzole

Whilst the drug Riluzole has been used for the treatment of ALS, it is now also being looked at for the treatment of psychiatric conditions of this type.

Currently there is an ongoing clinical trial into its safety, and its effectiveness being used in this new way.

It is believed that it can work to stop many of the OCD symptoms, by blocking the glutamate release from the nerve cells. Of course side effects in particular with children are a concern and the drug is known to potentially cause pancreatitis.

Other Developments

New drugs may also come from the developments in the brain imaging technology used in assessing the functionality of an individual’s brain circuits. These modern brain imaging techniques such as PET and MRI have become instrumental in moving forwards in many fields of science and medicine.

MRI stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging. It is used to determine change in the brain from any number of factors.  The beauty of the MRI scan is that there is no need to give the patient a radioactive substance into their bodies before the scan can take place, meaning that it is as safe as an XRAY, and far less intrusive than the PET system.

Functional MRI

The functional MRI can itself be used to measure brain activity without the need for radioactivity. To show a variation in the workings of the brain, it directs its attention towards blood flow within the brain, it can detect changes in this blood flow. This blood flow is a useful indicator, as when there is a sudden change in activity in one area of the brain, there is a consequent rush of blood to this area.

This is all done in real time, and its further use will have many positive outcomes for OCD patients in the future when it comes to seeing in real time the effect of the researched drug on the specific area of the brain being targeted. Advances in science on this end have been dramatic and it is

Visualisation

MRI allows for internal structures to be visualised in detail, and uses a powerful magnetic field that is generally seen as being harmless to the patient, as the MRI does not use ionizing radiation like used in X-rays or in CT scans.

It is the MRI ability to show through the sharp contrasts between muscle and bone that make it most useful in the medical profession. This ability makes it a superior means of imaging the heart and brain than any other method.

Its development is not brand new, but it has taken some decades for the mechanics of the MRI to become widely affordable, the first image produced by this means was in 1973.

It is in MRI’s contrast resolution that its larger benefits are noticed against other technologies in the sector, in that it has the ability to distinguish between very closely aligning structures as would be a norm in the human body.

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