What is Tourette Syndrome?

Tourette syndrome (TS) is defined by having both multiple motor and vocal tics that last for more than one year and start before age 18 years. Tics are sudden, rapid, repeated, non-rhythmic movements (motor tics) or vocalizations (vocal tics). Examples of motor tics are eye blinking, shoulder shrugging, and head tossing. Vocal tics may include sniffing, tongue clicking, throat clearing, and random vocalizations. Tics are quite common, particularly in children. While some people suffer from severe motor and vocal tics, others may not always be aware of their presence. Other tic disorders include chronic tic disorder (only motor or vocal tics) and transient tic disorder.


What causes TS and other tic disorders?

Tic disorders are known to be related to parts of the brain that control movements, although the exact causes of tics are still poorly understood. There is a strong hereditary basis of tics which often run in families. However, sometimes tic disorders arise without any known family history. Finding the genes involved in tic disorders can provide important clues as to which brain functions and cell types are impaired, and which time periods in human development are most vulnerable. This will help find new therapies for the treatment of tic disorders.


What is the aim of TIC Genetics?

TIC Genetics (Tourette International Collaborative Genetics Study) aims to identify the genes that are involved in causing tic disorders.


Who can participate in TIC Genetics?

Families with persons with a tic disorder and their unaffected family members are invited to participate in the TIC Genetics study. Participating family members may be of any age. Families will consist of one offspring (child or adult) with a lifetime diagnosis of a tic disorder (does not need to currently have tics) and both of his/her biological parents who have never been diagnosed with a tic disorder.


Can I still participate if other people in my family have Tourette Syndrome or a tic disorder?

You are not eligible if your parents and blood/full siblings are affected, but you can still participate if other members of your family are affected.


What do I need to do to participate in TIC Genetics?

All participating family members complete a questionnaire on tics and related behaviors and are invited to a single visit to our study site. During that visit, the questionnaire will be reviewed, and a single blood draw will be taken.


What if I live far away from the Yale Child Study Center?

Please contact us for additional information about other study sites that may be closer to you, or for other possibilities about how you can participate without having to come to Yale.


Sounds good! How can I participate in TIC Genetics?

If you are interested in participating, please send an email to Adam Lombroso at ticgenetics@yale.edu or call 203-677-0842 and leave a voicemail. You may also complete the form here.


How long will the study procedures take for us to do?

The questionnaires can be completed prior to your visit and should take 20-30 minutes. The blood draw and interview will take about 20 minutes each.


Will I receive results from your study of my family’s genes?

We cannot return individual genetic results because our studies are performed as research. The genetic analyses we perform in our research study are not performed in certified genetic testing laboratories. If you wish to have clinical diagnostic testing performed, we will provide you with a referral to genetic counseling or to psychiatric services.


When will I receive my gift card?

Once all family members have completed all study procedures (questionnaire, blood draw, interview), we will send you the gift card via email.

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