Breaking TS Research Study!

The TAA is excited to announce that a breaking TS research study conducted by the CDC has found the prevalence numbers for Tourette Syndrome and persistent Tic Disorders have doubled. 1 in 50 school-age children have TS or a persistent Tic Disorder. Let’s uncover the next milestone together by investing in research.

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2022 TAA Grants for Young Investigators

The TAA is the only national organization that invests in research for Tourette Syndrome (TS) and Tic Disorders. This important research is carried out by leading Young Investigators in the field of TS, Tic Disorders, and associated conditions. When you invest in research, there is a clear and direct impact on the many lives of individuals impacted by TS and Tic Disorders.

Travis Larsh Headshot

Travis Larsh, MD

Research Title: Intermittent Theta Burst Stimulation of the Pre-Supplementary Motor Area to Improve Inhibitory Motor Physiology in Tourette Syndrome

Summary: In Tourette Syndrome (TS), “putting the brakes” on tics can be difficult. One area of the brain that may be involved is the pre-supplementary motor area (pre-SMA). Previous research from our lab using Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) has shown that pre-SMA’s “braking” effects on movements differs in teens with TS. In this research project, we plan to use TMS to briefly “treat” the pre-SMA in TS and carefully measure how this affects other important brain areas involved in tics. These measurements could be used in the future to help design more effective TMS and other brain stimulation treatments for TS.

Miriam Matamales Headshot

Miriam Matamales, PhD

Research Title: Studying a faulty learning mechanism for the origin of Tourette syndrome and tic disorders

Summary: Tourette Syndrome is characterized by the expression of unintended motor or vocal responses that can interfere with normal functioning. Tics may disappear spontaneously with age, suggesting that compensatory mechanisms might be in place to suppress maladaptive behaviors. However, symptoms can persist into adulthood in about one third of those affected, raising the question of whether the capacity to eliminate unwanted responses is lost in such cases. This project will investigate the neural bases of naturally-occurring processes for behavior change. This research may lead to a significant shift in our understanding of the mechanisms underpinning the gradual development of tics.

Jessica Frey Headshot

Jessica Frey, MD

Research Title: STOP-TIC Study: Strengthening Tourette Treatment Options using TMS to Improve CBIT, a randomized, sham-controlled trial

Summary: Up to 20% of patients with Tourette Syndrome (TS) have persistent tics during adulthood, leading to impaired quality of life. Comprehensive behavioral intervention for tics (CBIT) can be helpful for some patients but does not lead to complete tic reduction. Therefore, there is a critical need to develop new and innovative TS treatments. There is emerging data that repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS), which is a painless and non-invasive neuromodulation technique, can be used to reduce tics. The goal of this study is to determine whether accelerated rTMS can augment the effects of CBIT and ultimately improve symptoms for individuals with TS.

Jaclyn Martindale Headshot

Jaclyn Martindale, DO

Research Title: Measuring Stigmatization in Chronic Tic Disorders: Development and Validation of the Tourette Discrimination-Stigmatization (TD-STIGMA) Scale

Summary: This study will evaluate how people are treated and regarded because of their tic disorder. By trying to understand how stigma and discrimination affects people with tic disorders, we can learn how and why these happen. A new scale will be developed to objectively measure stigma in people with tic disorders, the Tourette Discrimination-Stigmatization (TD-STIGMA) Scale. This scale will be developed through in-depth interviews with individuals with tics, caregivers, doctors, and advocates to better understand these challenges. This will guide future work to develop ways to prevent it. 

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