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Tic disorders are associated with obesity and diabetes



Tourette syndrome and chronic tic disorder are associated with a “substantial risk” of metabolic and cardiovascular disorders such as obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), and circulatory system diseases, according to a study published online Jan. 14 in JAMA Neurology.

The movement disorders are associated with cardiometabolic problems “even after taking into account a number of covariates and shared familial confounders and excluding relevant psychiatric comorbidities,” the researchers wrote. “The results highlight the importance of carefully monitoring cardiometabolic health in patients with Tourette syndrome or chronic tic disorder across the lifespan, particularly in those with comorbid attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).”

Gustaf Brander, a researcher in the department of clinical neuroscience at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, and his colleagues conducted a longitudinal population-based cohort study of individuals living in Sweden between Jan. 1, 1973, and Dec. 31, 2013. The researchers assessed outcomes for patients with previously validated diagnoses of Tourette syndrome or chronic tic disorder in the Swedish National Patient Register. Main outcomes included obesity, dyslipidemia, hypertension, T2DM, and cardiovascular diseases, including ischemic heart diseases, arrhythmia, cerebrovascular diseases, transient ischemic attack, and arteriosclerosis. In addition, the researchers identified families with full siblings discordant for Tourette syndrome or chronic tic disorder.

Of the more than 14 million individuals in the cohort, 7,804 (76.4% male; median age at first diagnosis, 13.3 years) had a diagnosis of Tourette syndrome or chronic tic disorder in specialist care. Furthermore, the cohort included 5,141 families with full siblings who were discordant for these disorders.

Individuals with Tourette syndrome or chronic tic disorder had a higher risk for any metabolic or cardiovascular disorder, compared with the general population (hazard ratio adjusted by sex and birth year [aHR], 1.99) and sibling controls (aHR, 1.37). Specifically, individuals with Tourette syndrome or chronic tic disorder had higher risks for obesity (aHR, 2.76), T2DM(aHR, 1.67), and circulatory system diseases (aHR, 1.76).

The increased risk of any cardiometabolic disorder was significantly greater for males than it was for females (aHRs, 2.13 vs. 1.79), as was the risk of obesity (aHRs, 3.24 vs. 1.97).

The increased risk for cardiometabolic disorders in this patient population was evident by age 8 years. Exclusion of those patients with comorbid ADHD reduced but did not eliminate the risk (aHR, 1.52). The exclusion of other comorbidities did not significantly affect the results. Among patients with Tourette syndrome or chronic tic disorder, those who had received antipsychotic treatment for more than 1 year were significantly less likely to have metabolic and cardiovascular disorders, compared with patients not taking antipsychotic medication. This association may be related to “greater medical vigilance” and “should not be taken as evidence that antipsychotics are free from cardiometabolic adverse effects,” the authors noted.

The study was supported by a research grant from Tourettes Action. In addition, authors reported support from the Swedish Research Council and a Karolinska Institutet PhD stipend. Two authors disclosed personal fees from publishers, and one author disclosed grants and other funding from Shire.

SOURCE: Brander G et al. JAMA Neurol. 2019 Jan 14. doi: 10.1001/jamaneurol.2018.4279.

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