Recent Research Headlines
TSA INTERNATIONAL DATABASE FOR DEEP BRAIN STIMULATION STUDIES IN TOURETTE SYNDROME ESTABLISHED
An international database for previous, ongoing and future studies of deep brain stimulation in TS (TSA DBS Database) has been established. There continues to be significant interest in DBS as a therapeutic option for some individuals with severe and drug-refractory presentation of the condition. Thus, a registry that collects and permits analyzes of study parameters and outcomes could facilitate the development of this treatment approach for TS as with other disorders such as Parkinson's disease and Dystonia. The project is being led by Michal Okun, M.D. (University of Florida, FL); Jorge Juncos (Emory University, GA), M.D.; and Lauren Schrock, M.D (University of Utah, UT). We are delighted that, so far, dozens of leading experts in DBS and TS in the US, Europe and Canada are participating in this initiative.
RE-LAUNCH OF THE TSA NEUROIMAGING CONSORTIUM
The TSA re-launched its neuroimaging consortium earlier this year with a grant award to the group of $500,000. The PI's of the new group are Bradley Schlaggar, M.D., Ph.D. and Kevin Black, M.D., both at the Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, MO. The other founding members of the consortium are Xavier Castellanos, M.D. and Michael Milham, Ph.D., M.D. (New York University, NY); Stewart Mostofsky, M.D. (Kennedy Krieger Institute); and Paul Thompson, Ph.D. and Elizabeth Sowell, Ph.D. (UCLA). The initial aims of the consortium are to develop a multisite working partnership; generate and reconcile pilot data from small scale fMRI studies conducted at different sites; and craft a grant application to obtain more substantial funding from the NIH to determine the neural changes that underlie TS.
TAMARA HERSHEY, PH.D. TO REPLACE PETER HOLLENBECK, PH.D., AS CO-CHAIR OF THE TSA'S SCIENTIFIC ADVISORY BOARD
Peter Hollenbeck, Ph.D. has been co-chair of the TSA's Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) since May 2004. After many years of exemplary leadership of the group, he has decided that our MAB/SAB meeting early next year will be a good time to pass on the baton. Dr Hollenbeck will, however, continue to serve as a member of the SAB. We are pleased to announce that Tamara Hershey, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Radiology and Neurology at the Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, MO and member of the TSA's SAB, has accepted TSA's invitation to become co-chair of the SAB, beginning March 1, 2011.
DISCOVERY OF A RARE GENETIC MUTATION IN TOURETTE
Dr. Matthew State and colleagues at the Yale School of Medicine published a research study in The New England Journal of Medicine (Ercan-Sencicek G. et. al. L-Histidine Decarboxylase and Tourette Syndrome. NEJM, 2010; 262:1901- 1908) in which they identified a defect in a gene - the L-histidine decarboxylase (HDC gene), that is responsible for the development of TS in two generations of a family (a father and eight of his offspring). However, as this gene defect was not found in hundreds of other families with TS, the HDC gene defect is considered to be a rare cause of TS.