PANDAS are not a big fan of stress

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Washington, Apr 11 (ANI): Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal infections, or PANDAS, do not like stress.

The diagnosis, PANDAS, was created when clinicians observed that following streptococcal infections, which include strep throat, scarlet fever, and impetigo, children developed tics and symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

In a new study, which appears in Biological Psychiatry, published by Elsevier, researchers identified new infections in children and adolescents with Tourette syndrome (TS) and/or OCD, and compared them with healthy control subjects.

The boffins also measured the participants' levels of emotional stress. Prior research has shown that stress is an important factor in developing depression, and that individuals with TS or OCD tend to be particularly sensitive to stress.

They then used this data to examine the power of the infections and measures of psychosocial stress to predict future tic, obsessive-compulsive, and depressive symptom severity.

Dr. James Leckman, senior author of this project, explains their findings: "We found that periods of tic and OC symptom worsening were independently associated with antecedent newly diagnosed strep infections as well as higher levels of antecedent psychosocial stress. When we looked at just the PANDAS, we also found similar results."

In other words, stress may aggravate the impact of prior streptococcal infection in promoting symptoms of TS and OCD. There was no impact of prior streptococcal infections on depressive symptoms. (ANI)

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