An Investigation of Attentional Abnormalities Specific to Tourette Syndrome

Grant Type
Grant Year
Institution Location
Institution Organization Name
University of Utah
Investigators Name
Myles-Worsley, Marina, PhD

Attentional problems occur in approximately half of Tourette Syndrome (TS) patients. In the proposed study, we will use a combination of cognitive and electrophysiological measures to identify the specific attentional disturbances associated with TS and to understand how these attentional abnormalities compare to those associated with ADD without TS. The information processing tasks we will use were developed for a previous twin study we conducted of genetic influences on normal attentional development. They include a series of cognitive tasks which measure response speed and accuracy under a variety of conditions each with a different demand on the attentional system as well as a series of visual information processing tasks designed to elicit a brain response which can be measured with electroencephalographic (EEG) techniques. Each subject will also take a standard IQ test to ensure a normal range of intellectual functioning. Attentional processing will be evaluated in 30 male TS patients (none on stimulant medication) versus 30 male ADD patients (half on and half off stimulant medication). All subjects will be 10 to 18 years of age. Both patient groups will be compared to the 30 normal male twin pairs (previously tested) who are in the same age range. By comparing the three groups, we expect to be able to identify attentional abnormalities that are specific to TS versus those that are specific to ADD or occur in both types of patients. It is our hope that this new data will be valuable in the formulation of individual education plans for TS children who also exhibit symptoms of ADD. Marina Myles-Worsley, Ph.D. University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, UT Award $16,115 Tourette Association of America Inc. – Research Grant Award 1990