Tourette syndrome as a motor disorder revisited – Evidence from action coding

Emily Mielke, Adam Takacs, Maximilian Kleimaker, Ronja Schappert, Giulia Conte, Rebecca Onken, Till Künemund, Julius Verrel, Tobias Bäumer, Christian Beste*, Alexander Münchau

*Korrespondierende/r Autor/-in für diese Arbeit


Because tics are the defining clinical feature of Tourette syndrome, it is conceptualized predominantly as a motor disorder. There is some evidence though suggesting that the neural basis of Tourette syndrome is related to perception–action processing and binding between perception and action. However, binding processes have not been examined in the motor domain in these patients. If it is particularly perception–action binding but not binding processes within the motor system, this would further corroborate that Tourette syndrome it is not predominantly, or solely, a motor disorder. Here, we studied N = 22 Tourette patients and N = 24 healthy controls using an established action coding paradigm derived from the Theory of Event Coding framework and concomitant EEG-recording addressing binding between a planned but postponed, and an interleaved immediate reaction with different levels of overlap of action elements. Behavioral performance during interleaved action coding was normal in Tourette syndrome. Response locked lateralized readiness potentials reflecting processes related to motor execution were larger in Tourette syndrome, but only in simple conditions. However, pre-motor processes including response preparation and configuration reflected by stimulus-locked lateralized readiness potentials were normal. This was supported by a Bayesian data analysis providing evidence for the null hypothesis. The finding that processes integrating different action-related elements prior to motor execution are normal in Tourette syndrome suggests that Tourette it is not solely a motor disorder. Considering other recent evidence, the data show that changes in “binding” in Tourette syndrome are specific for perception–action integration but not for action coding.

ZeitschriftNeuroImage: Clinical
Seiten (von - bis)102611
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 01.2021


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