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Obsessive compulsive disorder

The exact cause of obsessive compulsive behavior is yet to be established. On the basis of some studies and research carried so far, possible causes include any one or a combination of two.


Genetics (family history): Multiple genes passed on through generations are likely to affect the sufferer whose close relative is diagnosed with OCD as well. The genetic connection proves to be higher if the onset of OCD is before age 14. Identical twins have a 70% chance of sharing the disorder.

Illness: If the person is suffering from other anxiety disorder like depression, , substance abuse disorder, a personality disorder, attention deficit disorder, he or she is most likely to experience a high level of anxiety. Certain auto immune diseases such as Sydenham's chorea, rheumatic fever, pediatric streptococcal infection may also cause obsessive compulsive disorder.

Serotonin Hypothesis: People diagnosed with OCD are believed to have abnormally low levels of brain chemical, the serotonin which helps carry messages from one nerve cell to another. This imbalance may interfere with the normal biological processes including mood, sleep, appetite, impulse control, aggression and pain.

Structural brain differences: Abnormalities in several parts of the brains including the thalamus, caudate nucleus, orbital cortex and cingulated gyrus may also be a cause for OCD.


OCD traits

The disorder is clearly visible right from early childhood. Check for one or more of the following traits which are generally associated with time, dirt, relationship and money. Unless and until the individual has trouble leading a normal life due to any or all of these traits, it is not diagnosed as a disorder.


  • Keeping home perfectly organized.

  • Extreme attention to details, rules, lists, orderliness even if it results in waste of time and doesn't result in completion of proposed activity.

  • Exhibiting over perfectionism which interferes with task completion.

  • Is a workaholic, overly devoted to work and productivity.

  • Unwilling to delegate work as

  • Highly rigid and stubborn.

  • Leading a miserly spending style, self and others. Hoards money fearing future catastrophes.

Treating OCD

If left unattended, OCD can have devastating effects both in personal life and at the workplace. Normal life can be completely marred. Most importantly, individuals with OCD are close to acknowledging the need for help as compared to those affected with OCPD who do not conceive it as a problem, hence do not seek help until or unless someone forces the issue.

Antidepressant medications and behavior therapy are effectively used in treating OCD. Medication other than certain antidepressants is rarely prescribed. Instead individual psychotherapy or counseling helps treat OCPD. With family support and an empathetic attitude by those in contact, improvement is evident within few weeks of professional assistance.

Huntington Disease

Huntington disease is an inherited degenerative brain disorder. It is caused by the inherited defective gene that damages certain nerve cells in the brain. Huntington disease or HD typically affects the person at three levels, physical, cognitive and psychological parameters. Thus the patient gradually loses the ability to move, think and feel efficiently. Though it is an inherited condition, normally symptoms start to surface between the ages of 30 and 50.


The symptoms of HD can be classified into three groups:

1. Problems with movement
2. Problems with cognition
3. Behavioral problems


Movement Disorders

Uncontrolled movements is one of the early symptoms of Huntington disease. As the disease progresses, patient may experience the following symptoms:


  • Involuntary jerking of legs, arms, face and upper body(chorea)
  • Abnormal eye movements
  • Problems with speech and swallowing
  • As the disease advances, impairments in voluntary movements are also experienced.

Cognition Disorders

Cognitive changes may affect the ability of a person to work and manage things for himself. Some of the cognitive capabilities that get severely affected are mentioned below:


  • Short-term memory loss
  • Difficulties in planning and organizing
  • Difficulty in processing thought and expression
  • Trouble learning new information.

Behavioral Problems

Behavioral changes of the Huntington disease are the most distressing and difficult to handle. Some of the behavioral disorders are listed below:

Depression
Anxiety, denial
Mood swings, apathy and aggression.
Repetition which also includes obsessive compulsive disorder(OCD)

Altered sexuality.


Diagnosis

Thorough clinical examination and evaluating the history of the patients and parents is the first step towards diagnosing the condition. Imaging tests such as MRI or CT scan may also be advised to examine any structural changes in the brain. A diagnostic genetic test can confirm that the defective gene is responsible for Huntington disease.


Treatment

There is no cure for Huntington's disease, treatment is only directed towards controlling the clinical symptoms. Medications are advised over the course of the disease to control the symptoms of movement and psychiatric disorders. Tetra benzine drug, Anti psychotic drugs, such as haloperidol (Haldol) and chlorpromazine, antidepressants are prescribed to treat physical and psychological problems. Physical therapy and occupational therapy may also be advised to improve the general condition of the patient. A nutritious diet also goes a long way in managing a patient with Huntington disease.



Urine Amino Acid Analysis

Amino acids play a vital role as building blocks of proteins and also as intermediates in metabolism. These amino acids help in neurotransmitter function, pH balance regulation, hormone metabolism, pain and inflammation control, detoxification, cholesterol metabolism and various other biological activities. Excess or deficiency of amino acids in the body either due to dietary restriction or inherited metabolic problems can cause very serious health issues.


Urine amino acid test measures the amino acid levels in the urine. It is a medical test that helps in identifying underlying chronic disorders caused by amino acid imbalances and vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Most often, Amino acid test is performed as a screening test in newborn and children to address metabolism disorders. If any of the essential amino acids are not available in sufficient quantities, the production of protein is compromised with inefficient metabolism. The deficiency may cause disorders such as ADD, depression, Tourette syndrome, tic disorder, OCD, seizures and others.


Urine amino acid test provides valuable information on amino acid imbalance in the body by identifying:

Dietary protein adequacy
Gastrointestinal dysfunction
Enzyme functionality
Protein intolerance
Vitamin and mineral deficiencies
Renal and hepatic dysfunction, psychiatric abnormalities
Susceptibility to degenerative disorders
Inflammatory response and oxidative stress
Reduced detoxification capacity and many other inherent and acquired disorders

There are around 20 different amino acids in the urine. If the urine indicates any one or two of the amino acid levels as higher than normal, the person may have an inherent error of metabolism. Diagnosing it during infancy can prevent problems such as brain damage.


No prior preparation is required for the test. Clean catch urine sample is collected to perform the test. Few laboratories ask for first morning urine and few other prefer 24-hour urine test for assessing the amino acid levels. 24 hour urine test gives a detailed picture of highs and lows of various amino acid levels through the day, whereas first morning urine identifies current amino acid status and any existing imbalances. Reports are presented in a tabular format grouped into functional categories clearly indicating:


  • Amino acids levels (both essential and non essential)
  • Gastrointestinal markers
  • Detoxification markers
  • Neurological markers
  • Magnesium dependent markers
  • Urea cycle metabolites
  • B12, B6, folate dependent markers

Urine amino acid analysis in itself cannot be used as the ultimate diagnostic tool and it is normally supported by specific and further testing to confirm genetic and metabolic disorders. However, test reports will help in identifying the exact deficiencies that are contributing to disorders and allow for the precise replacement of those amino acids. The report will help nutritionists to draw a right supplement plan to replenish the required amino acids in the body.


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Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: October 16, 2018