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Obsessive­ Compulsive Disorder (OCD) Registry and DNA Repository

The principal investigator from the study is Dr. Evelyn Stewart. She is conducting the study with the assistance of her clinical and research team from BC Children’s Hospital and the University of British Columbia.


Given the chronic nature of obsessive­compulsive disorder (OCD), this study proposes to clinically characterize children and adolescents affected by OCD in BC through this registry and follow them longitudinally to establish the course of their illness. In addition, an OCD DNA repository has been established to investigate genetic influences of this disorder. The main objective of this study is to establish a registry that prospectively characterizes all referrals (children and adolescents) to the BCCH Pediatric OCD program. Data including demographics, presenting symptoms, history and course, level of impairment, treatment specifics, and various clinical and subjective assessments that are routinely collected via the web­based Research Electronic Data Capture (REDCap) for clinical purposes is entered into the registry. 

Study Procedures

Patients and their families receive questionnaires that are completed online, using weblinks that we provide. The whole questionnaire package is separated into several sections, each with its own weblink. Some of the sections are completed by one parent about the child while some sections are for the child to do about him/herself (with help from the parents if needed). Other sections are about the parents and other family members. All questionnaires are a standard part of clinical care and there is no extra time required for research participation. 
The DNA samples are collected at the end of the initial assessment using buccal swabs by BC Children’s Hospital Biobank trained staff.

Potential benefits

The information gained may indirectly improve the lives of those with OCD by increasing our understanding of how the illness progresses over time and helping to determine the genetic influences of this disorder. The information collected may also contribute to developing future treatment methods and/or research studies that may benefit those living with OCD. The collected and stored DNA samples will be used in the future to investigate which genes may be contributing to OCD and its clinical course, and which behaviours may be inherited by children from their parents. 

Salivary markers of inflammation in children with OCD

Who is conducting the study? 

The principal investigators from the study are Dr. Evelyn Stewart and Dr. Clare Beasley. They’re conducting the study with the assistance of their clinical and research team from BC Children’s Hospital and the University of British Columbia. 

The purpose of this study is to determine whether levels of salivary defence system components (antibodies, antimicrobial peptides, and pro-inflammatory cytokines) are altered in patients with childhood-onset OCD compared to matched healthy controls. Recent work suggests that the function of the immune system - a complex network of cells and signaling molecules that limits infection, promotes tissue healing, and also impacts brain development and function - may be dysregulated in OCD. Preliminary studies have reported higher rates of infections and other immune-mediated diseases among children with OCD, as well as abnormal markers of immune function such as low antibody levels and altered production of inflammatory proteins. Intriguingly, saliva – a body fluid that plays a critical role in defending against pathogens and is easily accessible for sampling – may provide a valuable non-invasive tool for studying immune function. 

Our proposed study will be the first to examine potential biomarkers in an easily accessible fluid reflecting mucosal and systemic immune function in OCD, a devastating mental illness with predominantly childhood onset and significant associated social and economic costs.

Study Procedures

Patients will be recruited through the BC Children’s Hospital Provincial OCD Program clinic and healthy controls will be recruited from the community. Clinical data collected will include an oral health survey, body mass index, smoking status, medication use, and current OCD severity. Saliva sample collection and storage is carried out by the BC Children’s Hospital BioBank

Potential benefits

This work will add to our understanding of potential immune dysregulation underlying OCD. Disease-associated changes in peripheral immune markers may ultimately facilitate identification of subgroups of patients who may benefit from targeted immune-modulating therapies.

SOURCE: Obsessive­ Compulsive Disorder (OCD) Registry and DNA Repository ( )
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