Disentangling Neuroanatomic Changes over time by a 5-Year Follow-up Neuroimaging Study of a Large Clinical Cohort of Children and Young Adults with TS

Grant Type
Grant Year
Institution Location
Institution Organization Name
Glostrup University Hospital Denmark
Investigators Name
Debes, Nanette Mol, MD, PhD

The aim of the study is to examine the neurobiological changes in the brain of children and young adults with Tourette syndrome (TS) 5 years after the initial examination. Previous imaging studies have suggested long-term activity-dependent plastic changes caused by the lifelong presence of tics in subjects with TS. However, most of these studies in individuals with TS have had the disadvantage of scanning children or adults from clinical cross-sectional samples. Cross-sectional studies give a picture at one point in time, rather than being able to depict a development and are prone to cohort effects. The present study has great potential in that it enables us to differentiate between the anatomical bases of tic behavior and the adaptation of the brain and mechanism to control tics. We thus plan to perform a longitudinal study of neuroanatomical and functional changes in a well-defined clinical cohort of children and young adults with TS using anatomical and functional MR-imaging (fMRI), and diffusion-tensor imaging (DTI). At the initial examination, we examined 39 medication-naïve children (mean age 13.9 years) with TS and 37 healthy controls (mean age 13.8 years). The cohort is well characterized with respect to co-morbidities, severity of tics, and psychosocial and educational consequences of TS. It would be important for the prognosis of TS to confirm the previously described anatomical deviations in a longitudinal study-design. Moreover such knowledge would help to further disentangle the pathophysiology of TS. Nanette Mol Debes, M.D., Ph.D., Liselotte Skov, M.D., D. Med. Sci., Kerstin Plessen, M.D., Ph.D. Glostrup University Hospital, Glostrup, Denmark Award: $66,000 (2nd Year) Commentary: Previous studies have shown that structures in the brain of individuals with TS might change over time because of the presence of tics. Most of these studies have given a picture at one point in time and have not depicted the development of changes in the brain over time. In previous research, we used Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) to examine the brains of 39 children with TS and 37 healthy children. In this study we will re-scan the brains of the same children, 5 years after the initial scan of the brain. We hope that the results will help in understanding the cause of TS and improve treatment possibilities. This award is funded by Constantine Scrivanos Tourette Association of America Inc. – Research Grant Award 2010-2011