New imaging technique reveals structural changes in Tourette's

May 12, 2009

Magnetization Transfer Imaging, MTI, has been used to visualize previously unknown alterations in the cerebral architecture of patients with Tourette's syndrome. The researchers, writing in the open access journal BMC Neuroscience, also found a correlation between the extent of some of the structural changes and symptom severity.

Kirsten Müller-Vahl, from Hanover Medical School, led a team of researchers who used normal MRI scanning and the new MTI technique to investigate the brains of 19 Tourette's patients and 20 controls. They identified alterations in the frontal lobe of the Tourette's group that they suggest may be responsible for the pathology of the syndrome. Müller-Vahl said, "Our in vivo findings, using two sensitive and unbiased techniques, support the hypothesis that alterations in frontostriatal circuitries underlie Tourette's pathology".

The MTI technique used by the researchers has never before been applied to the study of Tourette's. It is a refinement of the technique and allows for the detection of changes invisible to conventional MRI scanners. Tissue alterations in comparison to controls were detected in brain areas involved in the selection, programming, initiation, and control of movement. The authors conclude, "We suggest that Tourette's is primarily caused by a dysfunction in prefrontal cortex areas rather than the basal ganglia, as has been previously thought".

Tourette's syndrome is estimated to affect between 1-10 children per 1000 and, although the severity of a person's tics tends to decline with age, as many as 1% of the adult population may have some form of tic disorder. Symptoms include various facial, phonic and other motor tics - the well-known propensity for 'un-voluntary' swearing is in fact relatively uncommon, only affecting about 10% of Tourette's patients.

Source: BioMed Central (news : web)

Explore further: Second bird flu case confirmed in Canada

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Study: Psychotherapy can reduce tics

Dec 18, 2007

U.S. scientists have discovered several types of psychotherapy effectively reduce tic symptoms in people with Tourette's disorder or similar conditions.

Fibromyalgia can no longer be called the 'invisible' syndrome

Nov 03, 2008

Using single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT), researchers in France were able to detect functional abnormalities in certain regions in the brains of patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia, reinforcing the idea that ...

Recommended for you

Second bird flu case confirmed in Canada

3 hours ago

The husband of a Canadian who was diagnosed earlier this week with bird flu after returning from a trip to China has also tested positive for the virus, health officials said Friday.

What exactly is coronavirus?

10 hours ago

The conflicts in Syria and Iraq are straining public health systems and public health efforts meant to prevent and detect the spread of infectious diseases. This is generating a "perfect storm" of conditions for outbreaks. Among the infections raising concern is Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, caused by a type of coronavirus, which emerged in 2012. ...

Scientists find Ebola virus is mutating

10 hours ago

(Medical Xpress)—Researchers working at Institut Pasteur in France have found that the Ebola virus is mutating "a lot" causing concern in the African countries where the virus has killed over eight thous ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.