AAN logoA new study claims that streptococcal infection may not cause or activate Tourette syndrome or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

OCD is an anxiety disorder. During the condition one gets unwanted thoughts or obsessions and performs recurring behaviors. Tourette syndrome is said to be a neurological disorder which may be characterized by repetitive, unintentional sounds and movements known as tics.

Study author Anette Schrag, MD, of the University College London in the United Kingdom, commented, “These results do not confirm other, smaller studies done in the US, which found an association between strep infection and these brain disorders. Streptococcal infection has previously also been linked to other, much rarer neuropsychiatric disorders.”

Around 255 people participated in the new study. They were said to be between the ages of 2 and 25 from a huge, random population in the United Kingdom. Of those, about 129 were apparently detected with OCD and around 126 with Tourette syndrome or tics. The experts compared the two groups with approximately 4,519 people of similar ages devoid of these disorders.

In the group with OCD, about 15 percent had been exposed to a probable strep infection within two years of diagnosis. The same was done for people without OCD. In the group with Tourette syndrome or other tic disorders, about 10 percent had been exposed to a likely strep infection within two years of diagnosis. The same procedure was repeated for the group without the disorder. The experts apparently also looked at potential strep infections within five years of diagnosis of a strep infection.

It was discovered that people suffering from OCD or Tourette syndrome and tics were apparently no more likely to have had probable strep infections as opposed to people without these disorders at two and five years.

This study was published in the online issue of Neurology.