Rutgers University School of Arts and Sciences Division of Life Sciences
 

Tourette Disorder

We are investigating genetics of Tourette’s Disorder (TD) and associated disorders.  TD is a developmental neuropsychiatric syndrome characterized by persistent vocal and motor tics. While initially considered rare, the prevalence is now estimated to be 0.3-1% (between 3 in 1000 and 1 in 100 people) worldwide, predominantly children.  Individuals with TD and their family members frequently exhibit comorbid difficulties such as obsessions and compulsions (including full-blown OCD); Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD); and a vulnerability to anxiety and depression.  Family, segregation and twin studies consistently indicate that genetic factors play a significant role in the etiology of TD and suggest that obsessive-compulsive symptoms (or OCD) may be an alternative manifestation of the gene.  Although there have been some initial positive findings, identification of replicable susceptibility alleles has thus far remained elusive. We established a sharing resource of clinical and genetic data, the Tourette International Collaborative Genetics (TIC Genetics) to identify genetic factors that play a role in causing TD and associated disorders.  This is an international collaboration of clinicians, geneticists, and statisticians from the US, Europe, and Korea.  This study is a direct result of the New Jersey Center for Tourette Syndrome Sharing Repository (Heiman, et al, 2008), funded by NJCTS Center of Excellence, which demonstrated the group’s ability to recruit subjects, collect and distribute DNA samples, and publish in high profile scientific journals including the

New England Journal of Medicine