Tourette Syndrome as an Indicator of Psychiatric Co-morbidity in Children with PDD (year 2)

Grant Type
Grant Year
Institution Location
Institution Organization Name
State University of New York
Investigators Name
Gadow, Kenneth, PhD

For at least two decades, investigators have commented on a possible relation between Tourette Syndrome and pervasive developmental disorders (PDD) such as autism and Asperger’s syndrome. It has been suggested that the co-occurrence of these disorders may constitute a unique clinical entity sharing causal mechanisms. However, it is also possible that tic disorder in individuals with PDD is not a “true” tic disorder, but merely looks similar (i.e., phenocopy). Unfortunately, few studies have examined the prevalence of Tourette Syndrome in PDD samples. Furthermore, although there is a great deal of literature supporting a relation between tic disorder and co-occurring psychiatric symptoms, this topic has received scant attention in children with PDD. This is due, in part, to the debate over the existence of psychiatric disorders in children with PDD. However, our recent research suggests that attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) warrants recognition as a distinct clinical syndrome in children with PDD. In addition, our preliminary studies indicate that children with PDD who also have ADHD and tics, have more severe emotional and behavioral problems. This is also true for children who do not have PDD. The relation between ADHD, tic disorder, and PDD will be investigated in this new, longitudinal study of rigorously diagnosed 6-12 year-oldchildren with PDD. Special attention will be given to co-occurring stereotypies and obsessivecompulsive behaviors, which are often associated with PDD and are difficult to differentiate from motor and vocal tics. Using state-of-the-art assessment methodology, we hope to develop a better understanding of the relation of ADHD and tic symptoms in children with PDD. It is our belief that this research may help explain the causes of these disorders, which may ultimately lead to better treatment options. Kenneth Gadow, Ph.D., Carla DeVincent, Ph.D., State University of New York, Stony Brook, New York Award: $37,814 (Year 2) Tourette Association of America Inc. – Research Grant Award 2005-2006