Blink reflex abnormalities in children with Tourette syndrome

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Tourette syndrome (TS) is a common disorder which typically occurs during childhood or early adolescence. There is no definitive diagnostic test for TS. The objective of this study was to demonstrate whether neurophysiological abnormalities of the blink reflex can be observed in children with TS. We enrolled 15 children with TS, diagnosed according to DSM IV Diagnostic Criteria, and 15 controls. The blink reflex was elicited by stimulating the supraorbital nerve in order to measure the early response (R1), homolateral and contralateral R2 (late) responses, amplitude of R1 and duration of R2. The mean duration of R2 was significantly longer in TS patients than in the controls (P < 0.001, Student's t-test). An abnormal pattern of the blink reflex can be, even in childhood, an early neurophysiologic marker of TS, which is not related to the duration of TS or to the age of onset.

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