Previous studies have investigated differences in the volumes of subcortical structures (e.g., caudate nucleus, putamen, thalamus, amygdala, and hippocampus) between individuals with and without Tourette syndrome (TS), as well as the relationships between these volumes and tic symptom severity. These volumes may also predict clinical outcome in Provisional Tic Disorder (PTD), but that hypothesis has never been tested. This study aimed to examine whether the volumes of subcortical structures measured shortly after tic onset can predict tic symptom severity at one-year post-tic onset, when TS can first be diagnosed. We obtained T1-weighted structural MRI scans from 41 children with PTD (25 with prospective motion correction (vNavs)) whose tics had begun less than 9 months (mean 4.04 months) prior to the first study visit (baseline). We re-examined them at the 12-month anniversary of their first tic (follow-up), assessing tic severity using the Yale Global Tic Severity Scale. We quantified the volumes of subcortical structures using volBrain software. Baseline hippocampal volume was correlated with tic severity at the 12-month follow-up, with a larger hippocampus at baseline predicting worse tic severity at follow-up. The volumes of other subcortical structures did not significantly predict tic severity at follow-up. Hippocampal volume may be an important marker in predicting prognosis in Provisional Tic Disorder.
Keywords: Provisional Tic Disorder; Tourette syndrome; hippocampus; prognosis; tic disorders.