[ Back to EurekAlert! ] Public release date: 11-May-2009
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Contact: Graeme Baldwin
graeme.baldwin@biomedcentral.com
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BioMed Central

New imaging technique reveals structural changes in Tourette's

Magnetization Transfer Imaging, MTI, has been used to visualize previously unknown alterations in the cerebral architecture of patients with Tourette's syndrome. The researchers, writing in the open access journal BMC Neuroscience, also found a correlation between the extent of some of the structural changes and symptom severity.

Kirsten Müller-Vahl, from Hanover Medical School, led a team of researchers who used normal MRI scanning and the new MTI technique to investigate the brains of 19 Tourette's patients and 20 controls. They identified alterations in the frontal lobe of the Tourette's group that they suggest may be responsible for the pathology of the syndrome. Müller-Vahl said, "Our in vivo findings, using two sensitive and unbiased techniques, support the hypothesis that alterations in frontostriatal circuitries underlie Tourette's pathology".

The MTI technique used by the researchers has never before been applied to the study of Tourette's. It is a refinement of the nuclear magnetic resonance technique and allows for the detection of changes invisible to conventional MRI scanners. Tissue alterations in comparison to controls were detected in brain areas involved in the selection, programming, initiation, and control of movement. The authors conclude, "We suggest that Tourette's is primarily caused by a dysfunction in prefrontal cortex areas rather than the basal ganglia, as has been previously thought".

Tourette's syndrome is estimated to affect between 1-10 children per 1000 and, although the severity of a person's tics tends to decline with age, as many as 1% of the adult population may have some form of tic disorder. Symptoms include various facial, phonic and other motor tics - the well-known propensity for 'un-voluntary' swearing is in fact relatively uncommon, only affecting about 10% of Tourette's patients.

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Notes to Editors

1. Prefrontal and anterior cingulate cortex abnormalities in Tourette Syndrome: evidence from voxel-based morphometry and magnetization transfer imaging
Kirsten R Muller-Vahl, Jorn Kaufmann, Julian Grosskreutz, Reinhard Dengler, Hinderk M Emrich and Thomas Peschel
BMC Neuroscience (in press)

During embargo, article available here: http://www.biomedcentral.com/imedia/8198171402399420_article.pdf?random=333800

After the embargo, article available at journal website: http://www.biomedcentral.com/bmcneurosci/

Please name the journal in any story you write. If you are writing for the web, please link to the article. All articles are available free of charge, according to BioMed Central's open access policy.

Article citation and URL available on request at press@biomedcentral.com on the day of publication

2. BMC Neuroscience is an open access journal publishing original peer-reviewed research articles in all aspects of the nervous system, including molecular, cellular, developmental and animal model studies, as well as cognitive and behavioral research, and computational modeling. BMC Neuroscience (ISSN 1471-2202) is indexed/tracked/covered by PubMed, MEDLINE, BIOSIS, CAS, Scopus, EMBASE, PsycINFO, Thomson Reuters (ISI) and Google Scholar.

3. BioMed Central (www.biomedcentral.com) is an STM (Science, Technology and Medicine) publisher which has pioneered the open access publishing model. All peer-reviewed research articles published by BioMed Central are made immediately and freely accessible online, and are licensed to allow redistribution and reuse. BioMed Central is part of Springer Science+Business Media, a leading global publisher in the STM sector.



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