A Spotlight on Tourette Syndrome

2018 Child Neurology Society Meeting

This year’s Neurobiology of Disease in Children Symposium, as part of the larger Child Neurology Society Conference, focused on Tourette Syndrome for the first time in approximately 10 years. The Tourette Association of America supported and presented at this all-day meeting in Chicago, which included a number of Young Investigators who are working on TS or interested in learning more about TS.

“This meeting was an exceptional opportunity to engage and educate child neurologists on issues relevant to patients with Tourette Syndrome” said Jonathan Mink, Co-Chair of the Symposium, President of the Child Neurology Society and Director of TAA’s NY Consortium Center of Excellence in Rochester, NY.

This full day meeting included talks focused on the core clinical symptoms of Tourette Syndrome, neurological and genetic links to co-morbidities associated with TS, like ADHD, OCD, migraine, and behavioral and learning problems. Presenters also discussed the neural circuitry alternations and neurotransmitter changes thought to underlie Tourette syndrome, which is becoming increasingly understood thanks to studies in mice and from human brain imaging. Results from large genetics studies, including the TAA International Genetics Consortium for TS are also shedding light on gene differences that increase risk for Tourette Syndrome in brain pathways involved in nerve cell development and communication.

Presenters outlined available pharmacological and behavioral treatments for TS, including the importance of tailoring clinical care strategies to the individual patient’s needs. There is a large number of new medications currently in clinical trials that hold promise as future treatments. Doctors also discussed the currently available scientific evidence on immune-mediated mechanisms for tics and OCD as well as managing TS into adulthood.

Finally, in a presentation from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), attendees learned that an estimated .6% of kids have TS and 3% have a tic disorder, however CDC survey data indicates that 50% of these kids are undiagnosed. It is critical that we improve the identification and diagnosis of TS and work collaboratively to shed light on the biological mechanisms underlying TS to improve treatment and care for patients.

Finally, in a presentation from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), attendees learned that and estimated .6% of kids have TS and 3% have a tic disorder, however CDC survey data indicates that 50% of these kids are undiagnosed. It is critical that we improve the identification and diagnosis of TS and work collaboratively to shed light on the biological mechanisms underlying TS to improve treatment and care for patients.

The meeting was also supported by the National Institute of Neurological Disease and Stroke (NINDS) at the NIH, the TAA-Illinois chapter and by the Child Neurology Society. More information on the meeting can be found at https://neurobiologyofdisease.com/