Baylor College of Medicine

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Latin American participants needed for genetics of OCD study

Homa Shalchi


Houston, TX -

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a psychiatric condition that affects nearly 1 to 2% of the world’s population. Evidence shows genetics can contribute to OCD diagnosis, but researchers still need a better understanding of the role genetics play into the condition. Most OCD research represents almost exclusively those of European descent, creating bias in OCD genetic findings. Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill received funding from the National Institute of Mental Health to address the lack of diversity in genetics of OCD research.
The consortium of more than 50 sites in 11 countries aims to collect saliva samples for DNA from 5,000 Latino, Hispanic or Brazilian individuals (defined as having at least one Latino, Hispanic or Brazilian grandparent) with OCD between the age of 7 to 89 years old. The five-year study is beginning to recruit participants. Sites are located across different countries:

  • Peru
  • Mexico
  • Ecuador
  • Brazil
  • Argentina
  • Chile
  • El Salvador
  • Colombia
  • Paraguay
  • Canada
  • USA

“Including a more diverse sample will further advance our ability to detect, diagnose and treat individuals of Latino ancestry,” said Dr. Eric Storch, professor and vice chair of psychology in the Menninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Baylor and principal investigator of the study.
“Mapping the OCD-specific genes for Latinos and comparing the results to those of European ancestry contributes to a more comprehensive and generalizable understanding of the common human genetic code, which will help us understand and treat those of any ancestry,” said Dr. James Crowley, co-investigator and associate professor of genetics and psychiatry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
To get involved with this research, contact

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