Tags: tourette | syndrome | cause

Yale Scientists Find Tourette's Cause

By    |   Monday, 13 January 2014 09:49 PM

Researchers have determined Tourette syndrome is caused by a rare genetic defect that disrupts the production of key brain-signaling chemicals.

The findings, by Yale University School of Medicine scientists, are the first to tie genetic factors to the condition, which causes a variety of uncontrolled and involuntary tics, repetitive movements, and vocalizations, Medical News Today reports.
The mutation disrupts the production of histamine in the brain, causing "tics and other abnormalities of Tourette syndrome [that] are unwanted and involuntary — they cannot be controlled," said the Yale researchers.
The findings, published in the journal Neuron, are based on studies of laboratory mice and raise the possibility that Tourette syndrome might one day be treated by drugs now in development that target histamine receptors in the brain. Those investigational medications are being explored by pharmaceutical companies for the treatment of ADHD and schizophrenia.
"These findings give us a new window into what's going on in the brain in people with Tourette. That's likely to lead us to new treatments," said Christopher Pittenger, of the Yale Child Study Center and associate professor of psychiatry and psychology.
Histamine is known to play an important role in inflammation, which is why antihistamines ease allergy symptoms. The specific gene in this study is called HDC — short for histidine decarboxylase — which the researchers previously found to be mutated in a family that had nine members with Tourette syndrome.
The new study found that mice with a faulty HDC gene showed symptoms similar to those found in Tourette syndrome.

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Tourette syndrome is caused by a rare genetic defect that disrupts the production of key brain-signaling chemicals, Yale University researchers have found.
Monday, 13 January 2014 09:49 PM
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