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Results: Brain imaging study about TS

Posted on 21 July 2016


Ground-breaking link discovered between activity in the temporo-parietal junction in the brain and tic urges

Brain imaging study about TS    

Clare Eddy and Andrea Cavanna and colleagues (Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust and University of Birmingham) carried out research studying people with TS’s thoughts and emotions using brain imaging.

TA is proud to have supported recruitment into this study  and some results from this research have now been published, here is a link to the abstract and a summary below.

The first experiment from this study has shown that when people with TS are asked to think about people’s beliefs during fMRI. fMRI is short for functional MRI (fMRI) and is a functional neuroimaging procedure using MRI technology that measures brain activity by detecting changes associated with blood flow. This research found there is different activity in the brain to that seen in control participants (people without tics or any other disorders). These are really interesting findings, which could suggest that reasoning about people (we can call this social cognition) is special in TS, and could be related to patients’ symptoms.
More specifically, this experiment showed that activity in certain parts of the brain during the social cognition task was linked to participants’ everyday ratings of their urges to tic, and other compulsions such as urges to copy other people’s actions. We believe this is the first time a link between activity in the temporo-parietal junction in the brain and tic urges has been reported. Further study of this brain area may help us understand much more about compulsive urges in TS.
Dr Eddy, Prof Cavanna and colleagues are continuing to work on the other experiments that were part of this study and we hope to have more updates soon. Thanks again to everyone who helped with this research.

Read more about Clare Eddy here


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