TS Research Breakthrough: Scientists Undercover Mechanism Controlling Tics
Scientists have discovered a mechanism that controls Tourette Syndrome tics. This groundbreaking study may allow for the creation of new, non-drug therapies to help TS individuals with their symptoms. The University of Nottingham-based team used Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation or TMS (pictured) to stimulate patients’ motor function and induce a tic response. They monitored the patients’ brains during the tic stimulation and were able to measure the alterations in brain excitability. Understanding the relationship between the cortical excitability and tics means that scientists may be able to help children better control their tics, says Professor Jackson. Next, the team used Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation or TDCS to stimulate the brains of children with TS. Early results suggested that this type of brain stimulation may help to reduce the excitability which leads to tics, thus helping individuals to have long tic-free periods. They also found that a different form of TDCS that increases excitability may help with memory function and learning in the context of behavioural therapies. The hope is that the technology used in the study can be made into a cheap and portable device that can be applied to children while they are at home. The device would then help the children to control their tics and make their control more effective. The research was conducted by PhD student Amelia Draper and was funded by the James Tudor Foundation. For more information, click here. The next issue of The Green Leaflet, our national newsmagazine, is The Clinical Issue. To receive more amazing content like this, please become a member of the TSFC.