Premonitory urges preceding tics are a cardinal feature of Gilles de la Tourette syndrome (GTS), a developmental disorder usually starting during middle childhood. However, the temporal relation between urges and tics has only been investigated in adults. In 25 children and adolescents with GTS (8–18 years), we assess urge-tic associations, including inter-individual differences, correlation to clinical measures, and in comparison to a previously reported sample of adult GTS patients. Group-level analyses confirmed positive associations between urges and tics. However, at the individual level, less than half of participants showed positive associations, a similar proportion did not, and in two participants, the association was reversed. Tic expression and subjective urge levels correlated with corresponding clinical scores and participants with more severe tics during the urge monitor exhibited stronger urge-tic associations. Associations between reported urge levels and instantaneous tic intensity tended to be less pronounced in children and adolescents than in adult GTS patients. The observed heterogeneity of urge-tic associations cast doubt on the notion that tics are directly caused by urges. More severe tics may facilitate anticipation of tics and thereby lead to more pronounced urge-tic associations, consistent with a hypothesis of urges as a byproduct of tics.
Research Areas and Centers
- Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)
DFG Research Classification Scheme
- 206-05 Experimental Models for Investigating Diseases of the Nervous System