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Spotlight on researchers - Dr Clare Eddy

Posted on 26 May 2013

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We interview researcher Clare Eddy about her involvement with TS.

Name

Dr Clare M. Eddy

Position

Senior Research Fellow in Neuropsychiatry

Where are you doing your research?

BSMHFT, The Barberry, National Centre for Mental Health, Birmingham, and University of Birmingham, UK

What is the topic of your research?

Most of my work looks at the behavioural changes that occur in patients who have movement disorders. This can include a wide range of symptoms linked to changes in emotion processing or cognitive functions. In Tourette Syndrome, most of my published experimental work has investigated executive functions, social reasoning and quality of life. I have also reviewed the evidence for different pharmacological and behavioural treatments for tics. My current projects aim to link cognitive and emotional changes in TS to brain structure and function using fMRI and diffusion tensor imaging.

How will this help people with TS?

I think we are gaining a better understanding of how changes in cognition and emotion in TS may contribute to factors such as obsessive-compulsive symptoms, premonitory sensations and urges to perform socially inappropriate behaviours. In addition, investigating which symptoms most impact on patients’ wellbeing means we have a better idea which factors to target to achieve good treatment response.

However, clearly not all people with TS are the same. Two of my most recent papers have explored the differences between patients who do and do not experience swearing tics and urges to perform socially inappropriate behaviours. These studies provide a basis for developing interventions which are more focused on the specific needs of different people.

What stage of the research are you at?

While other projects are on-going, enough people have now been scanned to begin analysis on the neuroimaging study. A big ‘thank you’ to everyone who has taken part in this research: you help make it all possible.

What will happen next in the study?

After analysis, the study will be published in scientific journals to be available to the wider scientific community. I also hope to present the study findings at research meetings and international conferences such as the European Society for the Study of Tourette Syndrome. I will keep Tourettes Action updated on the results and any planned related studies.

Why do you want to be a researcher?

Research is progress: it’s what makes things change for the better. I love working with people in healthcare settings and never fail to be amazed at the strength of character shown by individuals living with some very challenging conditions. I am also very inspired by the dedication of people who take part in research and think it is a privilege to be in a role where you feel you can make a difference.

Dr Eddy was talking to TA Research Manager, Seonaid Anderson.


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Spotlight on researchers - Dr Clare Eddy

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