Functional Connectivity of executive Control Networks in Tourette Syndrome

Grant Type
Grant Year
Institution Location
Institution Organization Name
Washington University
Investigators Name
Schlaggar, Bradley, MD, PhD

This proposal is based on the hypothesis that having Tourette Syndrome (TS) is, in part, a consequence of atypical development of executive control networks in the brain. The brain’s executive control systems, responsible for performing goal-directed tasks, are thought to be anatomically separate from moment-tomoment processing systems. Rather than focusing on the functioning of a particular brain region to understand what is different in TS, the emphasis in this study will be on the composition of well-defined networks studied within the context of typical development. To characterize the composition of executive control networks in TS, we plan to take advantage of 1) our methodological approach using resting state functional connectivity MRI (fcMRI), which tells us which brain regions are “talking to each other” and, 2) our existing developmental functional imaging dataset. In previous work, we identified several anatomically separable networks. The network structure, along with functional data on the regions, allows us to hypothesize about the distinct roles these networks may play. For example, the fronto-parietal network may “initiate and adjust” control while the cingulo-opercular network may guide goaldirected behavior through the implementation and maintenance of task sets. A third network, comprised of the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, appears to support the brain’s “default” mode in the absence of task demands. These and other well-defined networks, and their putative roles in executive control, will be the focus of investigations regarding developmental functional connectivity in TS. Successful demonstration of TS-related aberrant network development using resting state fcMRI has the potential to provide significant insight into the developmental pathobiology of TS. Bradley Schlaggar, M.D., Ph.D. Washington University School of Medicine St. Louis, MO Award: $74,779 Tourette Association of America Inc. – Research Grant Award 2007-2008