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Obsessive-compulsive disorder researchers, patients come together

July 20, 2011|By Shari Roan, Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog

If you see groups of people walking around San Diego next weekend — July 29-31 — encouraging each other to reach into trash cans, it's all good. The exercise is part of the annual International Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Meeting.

Manifestations of obsessive-compulsive disorder include fears of contamination, hoarding disorder and Tourette syndrome. Just over 1% of people have some form of OCD

The conference is unusual because it combines presentations of new research data from scientists as well as educational forums for therapists, people with OCD and their family members.

The meeting also has a special track for children with OCD. One such program leads groups of patients on the streets of the city to practice exposure response prevention therapy, a type of treatment that helps people confront their fears.

"It's such an interesting conference," said Jeff Szymanski, executive director of the International OCD Foundation. "About one-third of the conference attendees have the disorder."

The sessions include a presentation on OCD in different cultures around the world as well as scientific presentations on medication treatment and deep-brain stimulation.

For more information about the meeting at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina, see the foundation's website.

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