Is a fast-acting OCD cure on the horizon? Science says yes.

Among all the mental illnesses, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is particularly difficult as it’s sort of shrouded in mystery; no one really understands it unless they have it. Although OCD is somewhat treatable with medication, there’s also no real cure. Until maybe now.

Research is being conducted by Dr. Nicole Calakos at Duke University in North Carolina, and some fascinating results have surfaced. They’ve been studying mice that are genetically altered to exhibit OCD-like behavior (weird, we know), meaning they’re missing the Sapap3 gene that helps our brain cells organize things and communicate effectively. The mice are therefore anxious and obsessed with grooming themselves (the humor is definitely not lost on us).

Calakos and her team found that a specific receptor known as mGluR5 was responsible for this unusual behavior, and usually, Sapap3 would limit its activity. When the mice without Sapap3 were given medication to block mGluR5, their OCD symptoms disappeared almost immediately.

They tested their findings by administering a drug that boosted mGluR5 to regular lab mice, and the mice began exhibiting OCD characteristics  just like their friends who were genetically modified.

Compared to anti-depressants which take weeks to work properly, and aren’t really a long-term solution, this treatment is looking pretty attractive. Naturally, the research team realized they were onto something significant. Could mGluR5-blocking medications be the answer for OCD sufferers in humans? If it worked, it could be a game changer for the medical community.

The team published this paper about OCD treatment and their findings, which is sure to make a splash among others hoping for a cure. Perhaps clinical trials will start soon, and the world could finally move toward effectively squashing OCD (nothing good ever comes easy though, so it will be a while before this happens). In the meantime, we’ll be following this research as it progresses.