A new study shows the neurophysiological impacts of psychotherapy for
people with Tourette Syndrome.
MONTREAL, April 14 /CNW Telbec/ - The use of cognitive-behavioural
therapy to treat tics in Tourette syndrome may be as effective as and
even superior to medication in certain cases. According to a new study
published in a special edition of the International Journal of Cognitive Therapy by researchers from the Fernand-Seguin Research Centre of the Louis-H.
Lafontaine Hospital affiliated with Université de Montréal, it was
observed that therapy has an effect not only on tics, behaviour and
thoughts, but also on brain activity.
"This discovery could have major repercussions on the treatment of this
illness. In some cases, the physiological measures could allow for the
improvement of the therapy in order to tailor it to a specific type of
patient," states Dr. Marc Lavoie, certified researcher at
Fernand-Seguin Research Centre of the Louis-H. Lafontaine Hospital and
with the Psychiatry Department of Université de Montréal, who conducted
this study with his PhD student Tina Imbriglio and his clinician
collaborators, Dr. Kieron O'Connor, psychologist, and Dr. Emmanuel
Tourette syndrome is a complex neuropsychiatric disorder characterized
by motor and vocal tics that worsen during childhood and reach a peak
around the age of 11. The condition affects between 0.05 and three
percent of children of school age and in certain cases, can persist
The research team invited two groups to take part in the study:
One group of 10 adults affected by Tourette syndrome
Another group of 14 adults matched for age and intelligence with no
neurological or psychiatric problems.
The participants were asked to perform a series of experimental tasks to
stimulate specific regions of the brain. During one task, the subjects
had to respond to or inhibit their responses to traffic lights
presented on a computer screen. An electroencephalogram was recorded in
conjunction with each task. The patients were seen again six months
later, after having received the therapy, to perform the same test. The
results showed a significant reduction of tics following the therapy.
Moreover, after behavioural treatment, it was possible to observe a
quantifiable normalization of the brain activity, linked to the
improvement of the symptoms in patients with Tourette syndrome. The
originality of the results of Dr. Marc Lavoie's team lies in the
discovery of a measurable cerebral change following these cognitive and
behavioural changes in symptoms
"On the one hand, therapy leads to cognitive restructuring, and on the
other, to behavioural and physiological modifications. This promising
study is the first to demonstrate the physiological effects of
cognitive-behavioural therapy for patients with Tourette syndrome.
However, other studies will need to confirm these results using a
larger sample," added Dr. Lavoie.
About Fernand-Seguin Research Centre
The Fernand-Seguin Research Centre of Louis-H. Lafontaine Hospital,
along with its partners, Hôpital Rivière-des-Prairies and the Institut
Philippe-Pinel de Montréal, is recognized by the Fonds de la recherche
en santé du Québec. At the forefront of knowledge, it is one of the
largest venues for clinical research in mental health in Francophone
About Louis-H. Lafontaine Hospital
Louis-H. Lafontaine Hospital provides specialized and ultraspecialized
services in mental health. A leader in its field, it develops knowledge
through research, teaching and assessment. Louis-H. Lafontaine Hospital
is a member of the Université de Montréal's extensive network of
excellence in health.
On the Internet:
About Marc E. Lavoie
About the Fernand-Seguin Research Centre of Louis-H. Lafontaine Hospital Lafontaine
About Université de Montréal
About the study published in the International Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy
Lavoie, M.E., Imbriglio, T.V., Stip, E., O'Connor, K.P. (2011).
« Neurocognitive changes following cognitive-behavioral treatment in
the Tourette syndrome and chronic tic disorder". International Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy. Special section: cognitive and neuroscientific approaches to
obsessive-compulsive and related phenomena. (4)1, 34-50. http://www.atypon-link.com/GPI/doi/abs/10.1521/ijct.2011.4.1.34
This research was made possible from an operating grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and from a clinical research grant obtained from the Fonds de la recherche en santé du Québec (FRSQ).
SOURCE HOPITAL LOUIS-H. LAFONTAINE
For further information:
Louis-H. Lafontaine Hospital - Fernand-Seguin Research Centre
Telephone: 514 251-4000, extension 2986
Cellular: 514 235-4036