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J Neural Transm. 2008 Jun;115(6):857-61. doi: 10.1007/s00702-007-0010-7. Epub 2008 Jan 15.

Voluntary motor drive: possible reduction in Tourette syndrome.

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  • 1Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, University of Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany.


Electrophysiologically, Tourette syndrome (TS) is characterized by shortened cortical silent period (CSP), reflecting decreased motor inhibition. However, voluntary versus involuntary aspects of inhibitory functions in TS are not well understood. Hence, investigating voluntary motor drive (VMD) could help to elucidate this issue. A group of 14 healthy adolescents was compared with subjects of same age suffering from TS with (N = 6) and without (N = 6) presence of distal tics. Basic resting and active motor thresholds (RMT and AMT, respectively) as well as suprathreshold transcranial magnetic stimulation-conditioned RMT and AMT were determined during the CSP. The difference between AMT and RMT was considered as VMD quantum. No group-differences were found in RMT or AMT. Subjects with distal tics showed reduced VMD compared to healthy controls while patients without distal tics did not differ from controls. In the second half of CSP, patients with distal tics showed also diminished VMD compared to tic-patients without distal tics. The findings support the notion, that TS shows possible reduction of VMD and is associated with central motor threshold alterations confined to the very motor networks related to the tics observed.

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