Brain Stimulation Gives Tics to Those Without Tourette’s

Picture: Eric Wasserman (PD)Important research into the nature of Tourette’s Syndrome, a neurological syndrome that plagues sufferers with tics and compulsions: turns out that you can inflict similar tics upon neurotypical individuals via magnetic pulse:

Jennifer Finis of Heinrich Heine University in Düsseldorf, Germany, and her colleagues suspected that a type of Tourette’s tic called echophenomena, which involves mimicking other’s movements, may be caused by over-excitation of the supplementary motor area (SMA) – a brain region involved in the initiation of movement.

To investigate further, her team used a non-invasive technique called repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS), which involves delivering brief but strong magnetic pulses to the scalp. By changing the frequency of rTMS, the stimulation could either inhibit or excite the SMA.

Thirty seconds after rTMS, 30 volunteers were shown video clips of someone making a spontaneous movement. Those who’d had their SMA excited were three times as likely to imitate the kind of behaviour they saw in the clips than those who’d had it suppressed.

Read more here. here. here. here. here. here. here. here. here.here. here. here. here. here. here. here. here. here.here. here. here. here. here. here. here. here. here.here. here. here. here. here. here. here. here. here.

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  • Liam_McGonagle

    Great idea–let’s f*ck with a person’s neuropathways for laughs. Maybe they can find a voltage setting what’ll make him kick his hind leg like a dog or take a dump on command.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a45wqvfvr0c

    • bobbiethejean

      Or maybe through this kind of testing they will find a cure for Tourette’s? Ever think of that? Besides, as long as they aren’t doing permanent damage to their subjects, what’s the problem?

      • Matt Staggs

        Yeah, this is obviously medical research, and I’m certain that these people were volunteers.

      • Liam_McGonagle

        Well, who says you can’t mix business and pleasure?

        • Matt Staggs

          I’m chargin’ mah tourette’s lazor.

          • Calypso_1

            Coming to a Police Dept near you.

        • bobbiethejean

          Oh my god, the images in my head right now. No. Thank you very fucking much. X3

  • alizardx

    Knowing where this kind of problem is might be helpful to people who aren’t neurotypical. Note that the report also suggests this can be used to inhibit tics. If this works out, perhaps portable stimulators can be built to help these people literally tune these problems out by changing rTMS pulse frequency or width. While it is reasonable to assume that the undesirable side of this stimulation is temporary, the referenced article does NOT say it is, so read the actual research paper before sitting at an ECAD workstation to design a DIY version or testing it on real people..

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