Pilot Study: Proportion of Hispanic and non-Hispanic Black Children with Tics in Rochester, New York

Grant Type
Grant Year
Institution Location
Institution Organization Name
University of Rochester
Investigators Name
Augustine, Erika F., MD

Several investigations have suggested a lower prevalence of Tourette syndrome (TS) diagnosis in black and Hispanic groups compared to non-Hispanic whites. However, these estimates may be biased by ethnic differences in cultural interpretation, medical priorities, tic knowledge, and health care access. Disorders associated with tics can cause significant impairment, even in the setting of cultural interpretation of tics as benign. The prevalence of tics in minority children, rather than a formal TS diagnosis, has not been investigated in detail. Therefore, we propose a pilot study to determine tic occurrence in non-Hispanic black and Hispanic children. Our specific aims are: 1) to obtain a preliminary estimate of lifetime tic occurrence in a community-based sample of non-Hispanic black and Hispanic children, and 2) to identify high-yield resources for subject recruitment in the Rochester, NY metro area and to assess the feasibility of conducting a community-based study of tics. Our secondary aims are to explore: 1) the phenomenology and severity spectrum of tics (age of onset, tic type and number, severity, frequency), 2) the occurrence of disorders commonly associated with tics (ADHD, anxiety, OCD), 3) tic knowledge and parent interpretation of tics, and 4) access to specialty health care. If tic occurrence does indeed differ among Hispanic, black and white children, future studies will explore whether this is due to variation in underlying biological or exposure risks. If tic occurrence is comparable between groups, subsequent studies will explore socioeconomic themes underlying differential TS and tic disorder diagnosis rates, despite similarities in tic prevalence. Erika F. Augustine, M.D., Heather R. Adams, Ph.D., Jacob M. Adams, M.D., MPH University of Rochester School of Medicine, Rochester, NY Award: $75,000 Commentary: Tics are a type of stereotyped involuntary movement. They are fairly common in childhood and are sometimes associated with other problems such as ADHD or anxiety. It is not known whether tics occur with the same regularity in different racial and ethnic groups. In this study, using interview and observation, we will evaluate how often tics occur in a small group of non-Hispanic black and Hispanic children, in comparison to white children. Results of this study may help more accurately estimate the rate of tics and their impact in a more diverse group of children than has previously been studied. Tourette Association of America Inc. – Research Grant Award 2010-2011