Association of common cold with exacerbations in pediatric but not adult patients with tic disorder: a prospective longitudinal study

J Child Adolesc Psychopharmacol. 2005 Apr;15(2):285-92. doi: 10.1089/cap.2005.15.285.


Cross-sectional data and case studies suggest a temporal relationship between fluctuations in tic severity and preceding infections. In this study, we aimed to examine this possible relationship in a prospective longitudinal design. Two groups of tic disorder patients were included, a pediatric group between 7 and 15 years of age (n = 20), and an adult group over 15 years of age (n = 41). During a 24-week period, participants were asked to fill out weekly self questionnaires regarding the presence of tic exacerbations and the experience of the common cold. In addition, 6 throat swabs were taken at monthly intervals and cultured for streptococci; also, 3 serial serum assessments of streptococcal antibodies were performed at 8-week intervals. In the pediatric group, our results indicated a strong association between the self report of a common cold and a symptom exacerbation 4 weeks later (Odds ratio = 4.685; p = 0.001). In the adult group, we found no association between reports of common cold and tic exacerbations. Association with streptococcal infections could not be determined owing to the limited number of observed streptococcal infections. Thus, this study points to a hitherto unknown association of common viral infections with tic exacerbations in children, which may support the involvement of immune dysregulation in tic disorders.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Child
  • Common Cold / complications*
  • Common Cold / epidemiology*
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Odds Ratio
  • Prospective Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tic Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Tic Disorders / etiology*