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Strep Infections Not Linked to Neuropsychiatric Disorders

Last Updated: October 01, 2009.

In children, streptococcal infections do not appear to significantly affect the onset of neuropsychiatric disorders, according to a study published online Sept. 30 in Neurology.

THURSDAY, Oct. 1 (HealthDay News) -- In children, streptococcal infections do not appear to significantly affect the onset of neuropsychiatric disorders, according to a study published online Sept. 30 in Neurology.

Anette Schrag, M.D., of University College London, and colleagues conducted a case-control study based on data from 678,862 patients from 330 practices who had general practitioner consultation data available since the age of 2 years, and were followed for an average of 5.08 years.

Overall, the researchers found that prior possible streptococcal infection was not associated with an increased risk of Tourette syndrome, tics, or obsessive-compulsive disorder. However, a subgroup analysis found that obsessive-compulsive disorder was somewhat more likely in patients who had possible streptococcal infections and weren't prescribed antibiotics during the two years preceding symptom onset (odds ratio, 2.59).

"Thus, current evidence indicates that for the ordinary Tourette syndrome/obsessive-compulsive disorder phenotype of waxing and waning symptoms, β-hemolytic streptococcal infection does not seem to be an important etiologic factor and therefore not an appropriate target for assessment or therapy," state the authors of an accompanying editorial. "Perhaps for other clinical presentations, the link to β-hemolytic streptococcal infection is more relevant."

Authors of the study and editorial reported financial relationships with the pharmaceutical industry.

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