Responses to emotive and social cues in Tourette Syndrome

Study participants viewed photos of eyes

A new study conducted by Dr Clare Eddy and Dr Peter Hansen may help to explain the social content and emotional tone of many tics and compulsive urges in Tourette Syndrome (TS) patients.

When compared to matched healthy controls, adults with TS were found to have increased activity in brain areas involved in emotion processing during the viewing of photographs of people's eyes. These findings provide further support for the presence of 'hyper-mentalizing' - greater neural reactivity in response to emotive and social environmental cues - in these patients.

This may in turn help to explain the social content and emotional tone of many tics and compulsive urges in TS, which can include imitation of other people's actions and expressions, and socially inappropriate remarks.

The study was recently published in the journal Psychological Medicine.