The Temporal Dynamics of Tics in Tourette Syndrome

Grant Type
Grant Year
Institution Location
Institution Organization Name
Yale Child Study Center
Investigators Name
Peterson, Bradley, MD

Using advanced mathematical techniques that were initially developed in physics and engineering, we have developed new ways to describe the temporal patterning of tics in Tourette Syndrome (TS). Our extensive pilot data suggest that we are able to understand why tics tend to occur in bursts or “bouts,” as well as why tics fluctuate (or “wax and wane”) in frequency. The techniques to analyze the pat¬terning of tics also seem likely to provide better ways of quantifying how frequently tics are really occurring and in ways that are not confused by the presence of the natural waxing and waning in tic frequency. These improved methods of quantification could have important implications for improving clinical decisions about when to start the medications used to treat tics. Clinicians want to begin medications, for instance, when tics are really at their worst. If, instead, medications are started simply when tics are naturally waxing, then as tic frequency naturally wanes, patients and clinicians are likely to mistakenly attribute the improvement to the “positive” effects of the medication prescribed. The funds from this TSA award will be used to establish further the reliability and validity of the techniques that we have developed. Also, we will determine whether our techniques will prove helpful in predicting the future severity of tics. To demonstrate this, we will study a group of individuals who have TS, at multiple time points. We will assess how stable the measures of tic severity are over time, and then determine how well these measures predict the future severity of tic symptoms. Moreover, we will assess how medications affect the measures that we have developed, and whether the measures can, indeed, predict re¬sponses to medications. Bradley S. Peterson, M.D., John C. Gore, Ph.D. Yale University Child Study Center New Haven, CT Award: $40,000 Tourette Association of America Inc. – Research Grant Award 1998