Distinct treatment needed: Tourette's and obsessive-compulsive disorder

May 14, 2008

While 30 to 50 percent of people with Gilles de la Tourette Syndrome are also affected with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), both illnesses might have a distinct neurocognitive profile, according to a new study published in the journal Neuro-Psychopharmacology & Brain Psychiatry by researchers from the Université de Montréal and the Fernand-Seguin Research Centre of the Louis-H Lafontaine Hospital.

“In the study of cerebral activity or the relationship with working memory and attention, this was the first study to show a clear dissociation between OCD and Tourette’s dimensions. This could have a major impact in the treatment. It is difficult to treat Tourette’s symptoms if you don’t identify and address symptoms of OCD first,” said Université de Montréal associate researcher Dr. Marc Lavoie, who completed the study with students Geneviève Thibault and Mihaela Felezeu, and clinician collaborators Kieron O’Connor, Christo Todorov and Emmanuel Stip.

Gilles de la Tourette Syndrome is a complex neuropsychiatric disorder, marked by increasing motor and phonic tics, which begins in childhood and peaked at 11 years old. The illness affects 0,05 to 3 percent of children and about 1 percent of adults. OCD, an anxiety disorder characterized by obsessions and compulsions, affects 2.5 percent of the population.

“When testing patients, we found that brain regions associated with working memory among people affected by Tourette’s are much more active than control subjects when stimulated, while regions associated with working memory in OCD patients decreased,” explained Dr. Lavoie.

The research team invited four groups to take part in their study:

-- A first group of 14 adults affected by Tourette’s but not OCD.
-- A second group of 12 adults affected by both Tourette’s and OCD.
-- A third group of 15 participants with OCD alone.
-- A fourth group of 14 people without neurological or psychiatric problems.

Subjects were asked to perform a series of experimental tasks to stimulate specific brain regions. In one test, subjects viewed shapes and singled out which images differed. A electroencephalogram monitored brain activity throughout each test. “This study will help clinicians provide better diagnostic and treatment by isolating therapies that will better help OCD or Tourette’s patients,” said Dr. Lavoie.

Source: University of Montreal

Explore further: Research shows that bacteria survive longer in contact lens cleaning solution than thought

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Ebola virus in Africa outbreak is a new strain

19 hours ago

The Ebola virus that has killed scores of people in Guinea this year is a new strain—evidence that the disease did not spread there from outbreaks in some other African nations, scientists report.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Unraveling the 'black ribbon' around lung cancer

It's not uncommon these days to find a colored ribbon representing a disease. A pink ribbon is well known to signify breast cancer. But what color ribbon does one think of with lung cancer?

Classifying cognitive styles across disciplines

Educators have tried to boost learning by focusing on differences in learning styles. Management consultants tout the impact that different decision-making styles have on productivity. Various fields have ...

Tiny power plants hold promise for nuclear energy

Small underground nuclear power plants that could be cheaper to build than their behemoth counterparts may herald the future for an energy industry under intense scrutiny since the Fukushima disaster, the ...

Hand out money with my mobile? I think I'm ready

A service is soon to launch in the UK that will enable us to transfer money to other people using just their name and mobile number. Paym is being hailed as a revolution in banking because you can pay peopl ...