TAA Behavior Sciences Consortium

In 2001, the TAA formed a Behavioral Sciences Consortium comprising several clinicians, scientists and other experts. The group is chaired by John Piacentini, Ph.D. (University of California, LA, CA), and includes Susanna W. Chang, Ph.D. (University of California – Los Angeles, LA, CA), Thilo Deckersbach, Ph.D. (Harvard Medical School/Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA), Golda S. Ginsburg, Ph.D. (The Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, M.D.), Alan L. Peterson, Ph.D. (University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX), Lawrence D. Scahill, M.S.N., Ph.D. (Emory University, Atlanta, GA), John T. Walkup, M.D. (Weill Cornell Medical College and New York Presbyterian Hospital, New York, NY); Sabine Wilhelm, Ph.D. (Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA), and Douglas W. Woods, Ph.D. (Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI).

The TAA BSC was asked to work collaboratively to develop nonpharmacological treatments for TS. The TAA invested approximately $300,000 to support several planning meetings and small pilot studies, which resulted in the conceptualization of a therapy, called Comprehensive Behavioral Intervention for Tics (CBIT). The TAA BSC subsequently obtained over $8 million from NIMH to support further research and development of CBIT. The group has since published several research papers on CBIT, including 2 clinical trials demonstrating the ability of this treatment approach to reduce tics in children and adults with TS 1,2.

The TAA BSC is continuing their work to further develop CBIT, including efforts to improve patience compliance and the creation of modified versions that can be adopted by diverse professionals (e.g. occupational therapists). Novel methods of delivery are also being explored, notably telemedicine and self-help/home-based approaches, to increase patient access to CBIT, particularly in underserved regions of the US.

1Piacentini, J., Woods, D. W., Scahill, L., Wilhelm, S., Peterson, A. L., Chang, S., . . . Walkup, J. T. (2010). Behavior Therapy for Children With Tourette Disorder. Jama 303: 1929.
2Wilhelm, S., Peterson, A. L., Piacentini, J., Woods, D. W., Deckersbach, T., Sukhodolsky, D. G., . . . Scahill, L. (2012). Randomized Trial of Behavior Therapy for Adults With Tourette Syndrome. Archives of General Psychiatry, 69, 795.