Increased thalamic gamma band activity correlates with symptom relief following deep brain stimulation in humans with Tourette's syndrome

PLoS One. 2012;7(9):e44215. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0044215. Epub 2012 Sep 6.


Tourette syndrome (TS) is an idiopathic, childhood-onset neuropsychiatric disorder, which is marked by persistent multiple motor and phonic tics. The disorder is highly disruptive and in some cases completely debilitating. For those with severe, treatment-refractory TS, deep brain stimulation (DBS) has emerged as a possible option, although its mechanism of action is not fully understood. We performed a longitudinal study of the effects of DBS on TS symptomatology while concomitantly examining neurophysiological dynamics. We present the first report of the clinical correlation between the presence of gamma band activity and decreased tic severity. Local field potential recordings from five subjects implanted in the centromedian nucleus (CM) of the thalamus revealed a temporal correlation between the power of gamma band activity and the clinical metrics of symptomatology as measured by the Yale Global Tic Severity Scale and the Modified Rush Tic Rating Scale. Additional studies utilizing short-term stimulation also produced increases in gamma power. Our results suggest that modulation of gamma band activity in both long-term and short-term DBS of the CM is a key factor in mitigating the pathophysiology associated with TS.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain Waves / physiology*
  • Deep Brain Stimulation*
  • Demography
  • Electrodes
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Thalamus / physiopathology*
  • Theta Rhythm
  • Tics / physiopathology
  • Tourette Syndrome / physiopathology*
  • Tourette Syndrome / therapy*