Prevalence of tics and Tourette syndrome in an inpatient adult psychiatry setting

Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, United Arab Emirates University, PO Box 17666, Al Ain, United Arab Emirates.
Journal of psychiatry & neuroscience: JPN (Impact Factor: 5.86). 12/2001; 26(5):417-20.
Source: PubMed


Given the widely recognized genetic basis for Gilles de la Tourette syndrome (TS) and the suggestion that the putative TS gene(s) may be expressed as or associated with a variety of psychiatric illnesses, this study was undertaken to assess the prevalence of tics and TS in a psychiatric inpatient population.
Cross-sectional study.
200 consecutive adult patients who were admitted to the psychiatric wards of University College London Teaching Hospitals.
TS and related behaviours, as assessed by the comprehensive semi-structured National Hospital Interview Schedule.
None of the 200 patients had definite TS, but 2 were observed to have motor tics; 10 had a history of tics (present for less than a year), and 7 reported a family history of tics. Thus, 19 (9.5%) inpatients qualified for inclusion in a broadly defined TS diathesis. These rates are significantly lower than those reported in a similar community based epidemiological study of adolescents (p = 0.018).
Our findings do not support the theory that TS and related behaviours are over-represented among adult inpatients with psychiatric illnesses.

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    • "Clinical assessment was performed by a neurologist or psychiatrist experienced in diagnosing and treating GTS patients. Lifetime clinical information was systematically collected using standardized clinical assessment and a semi-structured interview adapted from Robertson and Eapen (Eapen et al., 2001) where patients are systematically screened for premonitory urges and other sensory phenomena, disturbances of social behavior, impulse control disorder, as well as symptoms of depression or anxiety disorder. GTS and ADHD were diagnosed according to DSM-IV-TR criteria. "
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    ABSTRACT: Gilles de la Tourette syndrome (GTS) is a common developmental neuropsychiatric disorder characterized by tics and frequent psychiatric comorbidities, often causing significant disability. Tic generation has been linked to disturbed networks of brain areas involved in planning, controlling and execution of actions, particularly structural and functional disorders in the striatum and cortico-striato-thalamo-cortical loops. We therefore applied structural diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) to characterize changes in intrahemispheric white matter connectivity in cortico-subcortical circuits engaged in motor control in 15 GTS patients without psychiatric comorbidities. White matter connectivity was analyzed by probabilistic fiber tractography between 12 predefined cortical and subcortical regions of interest. Connectivity values were combined with measures of clinical severity rated by the Yale Global Tic Severity Scale (YGTSS). GTS patients showed widespread structural connectivity deficits. Lower connectivity values were found specifically in tracts connecting the supplementary motor areas (SMA) with basal ganglia (pre-SMA-putamen, SMA-putamen) and in frontal cortico-cortical circuits. There was an overall trend towards negative correlations between structural connectivity in these tracts and YGTSS scores. Structural connectivity of frontal brain networks involved in planning, controlling and executing actions is reduced in adult GTS patients which is associated with tic severity. These findings are in line with the concept of GTS as a neurodevelopmental disorder of brain immaturity.
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    • "For example, in one study conducted in primary schools, TS was found in 0.15–1.1%.37,38 In contrast, the prevalence among older people, especially in adult psychiatric units, may also be relatively low (e.g., around 9.5%) when compared to the prevalence in younger people, as studies have shown that tics diminish with age.39 "
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    ABSTRACT: Tic disorders are neurodevelopmental disorders of childhood associated with psychiatric comorbidity and academic problems. Estimating the prevalence and understanding the epidemiology of tic disorders is more complex than was once thought. Until fairly recently, tic disorders were thought to be rare, but today tics are believed to be the most common movement disorder, with 0.2-46.3% of schoolchildren experiencing tics during their lifetime. Tentative explanations for differing prevalence estimates include the multidimensional nature of tics with a varied and heterogeneous presentation, and the use of different epidemiological methods and study designs. Literature review and analysis of methodological issues pertinent to epidemiological studies of tic disorders. Epidemiological studies of tic disorders were reviewed, and the main elements of epidemiological studies, including sample selection, case ascertainment strategy, definition of tic disorders, and the degree of coverage of the eligible population (i.e., the response rate) were examined. In order to improve the quality of epidemiological studies of tic disorders, a number of recommendations were made, including but not limited to a review of the diagnostic criteria for tic disorders, and inclusion of new tic disorder categories for those with tics of secondary etiology.
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    ABSTRACT: The concept of tic was developed at the end of the XIX century, emerging from the "chaos of choreas". Tic is defined as involuntary contractions of agonist and antagonist muscles in one or more parts of the body. It can be suppressed by voluntary efforts for seconds or hours, followed by exacerbations. Gilles de la Tourette's original article was published in 1885, in which he described nine patients with tics, and vocalisations. The pathogenesis of Gilles de la Tourette syndrome remained obscure. However, three factors have been considered: the neurochemical factor, related to the increased dopaminergic activity at the basal ganglia; the genetic factor and the non-genetic factors, for which environment more than genetic factors are involved. Pathologic examinations failed to reveal structural lesions, but PET studies showed metabolic hypofunction on the frontal, cingulate and possibly insular cortex, and on the inferior corpus striatum. The motor tics as well as the vocal tics can be simple or complex and are present in all patients. Other signs can be added to the previous tics: sensory tics, echophilia, coprophilia, obsessions, compulsions and impulsions. Diagnostic criteria of Gilles de la Tourette syndrome are based on: age of onset; presence of motor and vocal tics; voluntary suppression of the movements; variation in number, type, location and severity of tics; duration of more than one year. Haloperidol is the drug of choice for the treatment of Tourette's syndrome.
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