Perinatal risk factors in Tourette's and chronic tic disorders: a total population sibling comparison study

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Adverse perinatal events may increase the risk of Tourette's and chronic tic disorders (TD/CTD), but previous studies have been unable to control for unmeasured environmental and genetic confounding. We aimed to prospectively investigate potential perinatal risk factors for TD/CTD, taking unmeasured factors shared between full siblings into account. A population-based birth cohort, consisting of all singletons born in Sweden in 1973-2003, was followed until December 2013. A total of 3 026 861 individuals were identified, 5597 of which had a registered TD/CTD diagnosis. We then studied differentially exposed full siblings from 947 942 families; of these, 3563 families included siblings that were discordant for TD/CTD. Perinatal data were collected from the Medical Birth Register and TD/CTD diagnoses were collected from the National Patient Register, using a previously validated algorithm. In the fully adjusted models, impaired fetal growth, preterm birth, breech presentation and cesarean section were associated with a higher risk of TD/CTD, largely independent from shared family confounders and measured covariates. Maternal smoking during pregnancy was associated with risk of TD/CTD in a dose-response manner but the association was no longer statistically significant in the sibling comparison models or after the exclusion of comorbid attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. A dose-response relationship between the number of adverse perinatal events and increased risk for TD/CTD was also observed, with hazard ratios ranging from 1.41 (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.33-1.50) for one event to 2.42 (95% CI: 1.65-3.53) for five or more events. These results pave the way for future gene by environment interaction and epigenetic studies in TD/CTD.

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