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Story Updated: Aug 15, 2012

Scientists studying the human genome have made a variety of amazing discoveries. Now...they say they've identified genetic factors that may be behind both Obsessive Compulsive Disorder...and Tourette Syndrome.

OCD is a common psychiatric disorder...affecting more than 2-million American adults. It's defined by the presence of obsessions and compulsions that can be a significant struggle. Tourette syndrome is a developmental disorder characterized by motor tics and at least one vocal tic. It usually appears in childhood and has genetic roots. Tourette Syndrome, affects roughly one in every 100 people.

Two papers, just published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, focused on the genetic level makeup of both of these conditions.

In the Tourette work, nearly 15-hundred cases were studied. A signal within a specific gene was identified as the trouble spot. This gene encodes a protein in the cerebellum, the region in the brain that covers motor control. In the OCD research, more than 14-hundred cases were reviewed. At the genetic level, a strong signal was picked up near a gene that's highly expressed during childhood...when OCD often is diagnosed.

While neither study offers a reason why these conditions happen, understanding where they develop may help scientists move towards a better understanding of the genetic beginnings of both.

I'm Dr. Cindy Haines of HealthDay TV, with news from today that can lead to healthy tomorrows.

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