Columbia University Medical Center
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National Institutes of Health
NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital The University Hospital of Columbia and Cornell
Researchers using light to activate neurons, make mice obsessive - or not
June 6, 2013 - June 10, 2013

To figure out if the circuit disruptions observed in OCD patients are a cause or effect of the disorder, Susanne Ahmari, a neuroscientist and psychiatrist at Columbia University, and colleagues used optogenetics to stimulate in mice a neural circuit known to be hyperactivated in OCD patients. They expected to see repetitive behavior in the mouse as soon as they stimulated the circuit, but they didn’t. “This was a surprise to us,” says Ahmari. “The direct activation did not lead to repetitive behaviors in the mice.” But when they repeatedly stimulated the neural circuits, the mice developed obsessive behaviors.


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