Deep brain stimulation powerful in treating Tourette's

August 16, 2012, University of New South Wales

Ten out of 11 patients with severe Tourette’s Syndrome have reported improvement after receiving deep brain stimulation surgery, according to University of New South Wales research published in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

Tourette’s Syndrome is a neurological disorder characterised by repetitive involuntary movements and vocalisations called tics and can also include behavioural difficulties.

Deep is a therapeutic technique that involves placing electrodes at specific sites in the brain to deliver continuous stimulation from an implanted generator.

Study leader, UNSW Scientia Professor Perminder Sachdev, says deep brain stimulation may have an important role in treating Tourette’s Syndrome in its most severe form. He says tics are generally treated with medications that work well in about 50 to 70 per cent of cases. Drugs, however, can have side effects in some patients.

Eleven patients, eight of them in their late thirties with severe Tourette’s Syndrome, underwent deep brain stimulation at St Andrew’s Hospital in Brisbane - under the care of neurologist Professor Peter Silburn and neurosurgeon Associate Professor Terry Coyne - as part of the study. They were followed up initially one month after surgery and then around a year after the procedure.

Ten out of the 11 patients involved in the joint UNSW Medicine and Asia-Pacific Centre for Neuromodulation study reported immediate improvement in tic severity soon after the treatment, with an overall 48 per cent reduction in monitor tics and a 57 per cent reduction in phonic tics at final follow-up. Associated psychiatric symptoms also improved.

“Because deep brain stimulation involves brain surgery, it has some risks, even though these are low. It is therefore only likely to be used in individuals who are significantly affected by their tics,” Scientia Professor Sachdev says.

“Our study demonstrates that when suitably selected, patients can benefit greatly from deep brain stimulation.”

Explore further: Tourette Syndrome: non-drug therapy to reduce tics

Related Stories

Tourette Syndrome: non-drug therapy to reduce tics

April 14, 2011
The use of cognitive-behavioural therapy to treat tics in Tourette syndrome may be as effective as and even superior to medication in certain cases. According to a new study published in a special edition of the International ...

Almost 17 percent of Spanish children suffer tics

September 8, 2011
Experts have confirmed it: tics are not a rare or uncommon disorder. It is the second study to be conducted in Spain to date, and the first of great importance, revealing that the prevalence of these motor disorders in the ...

Recommended for you

New neuron-like cells allow investigation into synthesis of vital cellular components

January 22, 2018
Neuron-like cells created from a readily available cell line have allowed researchers to investigate how the human brain makes a metabolic building block essential for the survival of all living organisms. A team led by researchers ...

Finding unravels nature of cognitive inflexibility in fragile X syndrome

January 22, 2018
Mice with the genetic defect that causes fragile X syndrome (FXS) learn and remember normally, but show an inability to learn new information that contradicts what they initially learned, shows a new study by a team of neuroscientists. ...

Epilepsy linked to brain volume and thickness differences

January 22, 2018
Epilepsy is associated with thickness and volume differences in the grey matter of several brain regions, according to new research led by UCL and the Keck School of Medicine of USC.

Research reveals atomic-level changes in ALS-linked protein

January 18, 2018
For the first time, researchers have described atom-by-atom changes in a family of proteins linked to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a group of brain disorders known as frontotemporal dementia and degenerative diseases ...

Fragile X finding shows normal neurons that interact poorly

January 18, 2018
Neurons in mice afflicted with the genetic defect that causes Fragile X syndrome (FXS) appear similar to those in healthy mice, but these neurons fail to interact normally, resulting in the long-known cognitive impairments, ...

How your brain remembers what you had for dinner last night

January 17, 2018
Confirming earlier computational models, researchers at University of California San Diego and UC San Diego School of Medicine, with colleagues in Arizona and Louisiana, report that episodic memories are encoded in the hippocampus ...

0 comments

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.