Recent advances in Tourette syndrome

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Abstract

Purpose of review

This review considers the recent literature pertaining to the neurobiology, genetics and treatment of Tourette syndrome.

Recent findings

Over the last several years, both neuropathological and genetic findings have further focused attention on long-standing hypotheses regarding the role of the basal ganglia in causing tics and Tourette syndrome. Moreover, although the field awaits the results the first large-scale genetic studies, recent findings have already mirrored developments in the neuropsychiatric genetics literature more broadly, highlighting the value of the study of rare variation and the overlap of risks among seemingly disparate diagnostic categories. Finally, treatment studies have underscored the importance of cognitive–behavioral as well as pharmacological interventions for the treatment of tic disorders.

Summary

Recent findings have led to novel, testable hypotheses regarding the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying Tourette syndrome. These, in turn, have begun to provide new avenues to conceptualizing treatment strategies. Although the development of additional medication options is a pressing need, recent data has demonstrated both the safety and efficacy of nonpharmacological approaches.

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