School of Psychology

Barbara Morera Maiquez

Postgraduate Research Project


Title: Neural circuits involved in the suppression of tics in Tourette syndrome

Area: cognitive neuroscience

Methods: transcranial magnetic stimulation, diffusion tensor imaging

Tourette syndrome is a neurological disorder associated with a dysfunction in the cortical-striatal-thalamic-cortical circuit, however, the exact pathophysiology is not known. Bäumer et. al. (2006), showed that interhemispheric interactions between the left and right primary motor cortex (M1) are mediated by different neuronal pathways from the interhemispheric interactions between the premotor cortex (PM) and M1; however, little research has been done regarding this interaction. We are interested in studying the functional and structural connectivity from PM to M1 in healthy subjects, in order to compare it with subjects with Tourette syndrome in the future.

Functional connectivity between two cortical areas can be measured with transcranial magnetic stimulation, when two coils are used to compare the motor-evoked potential amplitude between the test stimulus (TS) alone and the conditioning stimulus (CS) and TS together. In this study, a CS will be applied on the right PM in four different conditions, followed by a TS on the left M1 in four different insterstimulus intervals. Diffusion tensor imaging will be used to explore the structural connectivity between the right PM and the left M1 of the subjects. The results will help advance the knowledge in the intercortical connectivity between PM and M1 in healthy people, which will be used to compare the intercortical connectivity between healthy subjects and subjects with Tourette syndrome between these two regions.


School of Psychology

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