A pilot study of basal ganglia and thalamus structure by high dimensional mapping in children with Tourette syndrome

Kevin J. Black, Alton C. Williams, Marie E. McNeely, Deanna J. Greene, Jessica A. Church, Stacie L. Warren, Johanna M. Hartlein, Bradley L. Schlaggar, Lei Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Prior brain imaging and autopsy studies have suggested that structural abnormalities of the basal ganglia (BG) nuclei may be present in Tourette Syndrome (TS). These studies have focused mainly on the volume differences of the BG structures and not their anatomical shapes. Shape differences of various brain structures have been demonstrated in other neuropsychiatric disorders using large-deformation, high dimensional brain mapping (HDBM-LD). A previous study of a small sample of adult TS patients demonstrated the validity of the method, but did not find significant differences compared to controls. Since TS usually begins in childhood and adult studies may show structure differences due to adaptations, we hypothesized that differences in BG and thalamus structure geometry and volume due to etiological changes in TS might be better characterized in children. Objective: Pilot the HDBM-LD method in children and estimate effect sizes. Methods: In this pilot study, T1-weighted MRIs were collected in 13 children with TS and 16 healthy, tic-free, control children. The groups were well matched for age. The primary outcome measures were the first 10 eigenvectors which are derived using HDBM-LD methods and represent the majority of the geometric shape of each structure, and the volumes of each structure adjusted for whole brain volume. We also compared hemispheric right/left asymmetry and estimated effect sizes for both volume and shape differences between groups. Results: We found no statistically significant differences between the TS subjects and controls in volume, shape, or right/left asymmetry. Effect sizes were greater for shape analysis than for volume. Conclusion: This study represents one of the first efforts to study the shape as opposed to the volume of the BG in TS, but power was limited by sample size. Shape analysis by the HDBM-LD method may prove more sensitive to group differences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2-207.v1
Pages (from-to)1
Number of pages1
StatePublished - Oct 8 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)


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