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Tourette Syndrome, Tic Disorders, and Education

JAMA Neurology; ePub 2018 May 29; Pérez-Vigil, et al

Help-seeking individuals with Tourette syndrome or chronic tic disorders seen in specialist settings experience substantial academic underachievement across all educational levels, spanning from compulsory school to university, even after accounting for multiple confounding factors and psychiatric comorbidities. This according to a recent, population-based, birth cohort study that examined the influence of Tourette syndrome and chronic tic disorders on academic performance. The study consisted of individuals (n=2,115,554) born from 1976 to 1998, followed up until December 2013. Researchers found:

  • Of total individuals in the cohort, 3,590 had registered a diagnosis of Tourette syndrome or a chronic tic disorder in specialist care (2,822 [78.6%] were male; median [interquartile] age at first diagnosis, 14.0 [11-18] years).
  • Compared with unexposed individuals, people with Tourette syndrome or chronic tic disorders were significantly less likely to pass all core and additional courses at the end of compulsory school and to access a vocational program or academic program in upper secondary education.
  • Individuals with the disorders were also less likely to finish upper secondary education, start a university degree, and finish a university degree.


Pérez-Vigil A, Fernández de la Cruz L, Brander G, et al. Association of Tourette syndrome and chronic tic disorders with objective indicators of educational attainment. A population-based sibling comparison study. [Published online ahead of print May 29, 2018]. JAMA Neurology. doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2018.1194.

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