Posted in Blog Archive

Posted by abeodbart May 30, 2010 at 8:38 am

bone marrow

“Feeling a bit obsessive-compulsive? New research suggests maybe it’s not all in your head after all. More likely, researchers say, it’s in your bones. A Nobel laureate at the University of Utah claims he has cured an OCD-like behavior in mice by giving them bone marrow transplants.

That’s right, bone marrow transplants. And while the costs and risks associated with bone marrow transplants make it such that humans would not want to consider the procedure as a treatment option for mental illness, the findings show a direct link between a psychiatric disorder and problems with the immune system. That could potentially inspire a new spate of immune-based research into treatments for maladies often perceived as neural or behavioral.

To make the immune-psychiatric connection, the team performed bone marrow transplants on mice that carry a defective gene that causes them to groom themselves too often and for far too long, rubbing their fur completely off in places and sometimes even resulting in skin wounds. It’s similar to the human disorder trichotillomania, which causes people to pull their own hair out. It’s also quite comparable to obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD.

The mice who received the healthy bone marrow were cured of their disorders. Further, when researchers injected that faulty bone marrow into healthy mice, they quickly developed the disorder. The problem revolves around a specific cell type called micoglia. About 60 percent of a person’s microglial cells originate in the brain during early stages of development. The rest form in bone marrow and move to the brain, and those were the cells causing the problem.”

Read more at PopSci

May 30, 2010 at 10:40 am
JayKay says:

Heard this on R4 on Friday. Absolutely fascinating and really makes obvious the links between our immune systems and our mental health (Alzheimers’, ‘schizophrenia’, OCD etc included). This is a huge step forward and hopefully we’ll begin to have the guts to deal with brain illnesses as we do, say, heart illnesses and stop running away from mental health issues. We will find something one day which boosts our immunity and protects us from this spectre we have not faced up to very well.

May 30, 2010 at 3:06 pm
Ben Lovell says:

I love the graphical abstract for this:

May 30, 2010 at 6:18 pm
roz says:

jeez. make something crazy & then cure it. there must be a better way to do research.

May 30, 2010 at 7:25 pm
Weaponstar says:

Wow, that is very interesting. I must look out for any developments on this.

May 31, 2010 at 9:04 am
spiderabc1 says:

Read somewhere that Hitler’s mum had OCD and had a strict toilet training routine and that is why he got his neice to urinate on him. No idea if that’s true. Not sure if his mum’s tidy house really affected the boy so much and that his efforts and training in WW1 wasn’t a key factor.


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