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Psychiatry Res. 2013 Feb 28;205(3):269-75. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2012.09.029. Epub 2012 Oct 4.

Prevalence and clinical correlates of explosive outbursts in Tourette syndrome.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of California San Francisco, CA 94143-0984, USA.


The aim of this study was to examine the prevalence and clinical correlates of explosive outbursts in two large samples of individuals with Tourette syndrome (TS), including one collected primarily from non-clinical sources. Participants included 218 TS-affected individuals who were part of a genetic study (N=104 from Costa Rica (CR) and N=114 from the US). The relationships between explosive outbursts and comorbid attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), tic severity, and prenatal and perinatal complications were examined using regression analyses. Twenty percent of participants had explosive outbursts, with no significant differences in prevalence between the CR (non-clinical) and the US (primarily clinical) samples. In the overall sample, ADHD, greater tic severity, and lower age of tic onset were strongly associated with explosive outbursts. ADHD, prenatal exposure to tobacco, and male gender were significantly associated with explosive outbursts in the US sample. Lower age of onset and greater severity of tics were significantly associated with explosive outbursts in the CR sample. This study confirms previous studies that suggest that clinically significant explosive outbursts are common in TS and associated with ADHD and tic severity. An additional potential risk factor, prenatal exposure to tobacco, was also identified.

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