Metabolic Pathology of Tourette Syndrome: Studies with Positron Emission Tomography

Grant Type
Grant Year
Institution Location
Institution Organization Name
North Shore University Hospital
Investigators Name
Eidelberg, David, MD

Tourette Syndrome (TS) is a neurological condition of unknown cause. Brain imaging studies with CT and MRI have been used to examine the brain anatomy of TS patients but have not disclosed consistent differences between the brains of control patients and those with TS. However, newer imaging methodologies which examine brain function rather than structure have been applied to the study of a variety of movement disorders including TS. Positron Emission Tomography (PET) has been quite useful in allowing investigators to make reliable quantitative measurements of regional brain function. This is done by measuring the rate of glucose utilization using a radioactive tracer call Fla-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG). This technique allows for brain measurement in many regions which may be active in a specific disease process. Researchers hypothesize that in TS there may be a disruption of the normal functional relationships between components of the basal ganglia, limbic cortex and frontal motor areas. This hypothesis has been supported by preliminary work on brain metabolism using PET. Nonetheless, the precise interactions of these regions in TS and the relationship to severity of symptoms have yet to be clarified. The purpose of this investigation is to use FDG/PET as a functional neuroimaging technique to precisely measure brain metabolism in a variety of these crucial brain areas. To identify these regions, we will utilize the superior anatomical information inherent in magnetic resonance images (MRI) by transferring the anatomical information of MRI directly onto the PET images. We will then measure the rate of metabolism in these regions. The crucial step in this research will be to use a mathematical modeling technique to look at the interactions of these various regions through a modeling of brain networks. Researchers now realize that individual elements of the brain cannot be regarded in isolation, but that many brain conditions, such as movement disorders, are characterized by alteration in comprised networks of many brain regions working together. The goal of this research is to use mathematical techniques to identify these specific network alterations in TS with reference to control subjects. Our modeling approach will also allow us to gauge whether the extent of network abnormality is correlated with objective clinical measures of TS severity and whether the metabolic network itself may be usable for a potential marker for TS. This approach will also allow us to probe the actual functional basis for tic disorders of TS and related conditions. David Eidelberg, MD North Shore University Hospital, Manhasset, NY Award $25,000 Tourette Association of America Inc. – Research Grant Award 1992