Increase in level of GABA in Supplementary Motor Area can help Suppress Tics

Increase in level of GABA in Supplementary Motor Area can help Suppress Tics

In a latest report, scientists have revealed that a particular brain chemical can help people suffering with the Tourette syndrome to suppress their tics. Findings mentioned in the report can pave the way to new therapies for the developmental neurological disorder.

Tourette syndrome is an inherited neuropsychiatric disorder that starts in early childhood. The disorder could not be easily diagnosed until a kid reaches six or seven years old. The disorder is characterized by multiple disorder tics and at least one vocal tic. A tic is a sudden, repetitive, nonrhythmic motor movement or vocalization involving discrete muscle groups.

Lead author Stephen Jackson of the University of Nottingham, said, "The tics are usually at their peak at about age 12 or 13, and then in a large proportion of individuals the tics become more controlled and in some cases disappear by adulthood".

Studies conducted on people with this disorder revealed that some brain regions are hyper-excitable because they lack cells that produce GABA, the primary chemical that inhibits the transmission of signals from neurons.

The study researchers said that tics are thought to be generated in a part of the brain called the supplementary motor area (SMA).

To further understand what actually happens in this particular part of brain, Jackson along with his team used magnetic resonance spectroscopy to compare 15 adolescents having the disorder with the adolescents without the Tourette syndrome.

The researchers found increased level of GABA in patients having the disorder. Stephen said this might have happened because the brain reorganizes itself in response to the tics, in order to gain some control over the hyper excitability, which is common in the cases of disorder.

Jackson expects that through trans-cranial electrical stimulation, the levels of GABA in the SMA can be increased, which can artificially reduce the motor cortex and suppress the tics.

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