In 2017, a research team, led by Dr. Jeremiah Scharf, was able to discover a high risk of Tourette syndrome in changes of two genes, NRXN1 and CNTN6. NRXN1 is a gene that is usually found in people that have autism and epilepsy. The team did a genetic analysis on 2,434 people with Tourette Syndrome and was able to show results in the copy number variants. The study displayed that the deletion of NRXN1 or duplication of CNTN6 can cause a larger chance of getting Tourette Syndrome by finding one of these genes in the people with Tourette’s. When a brain is developing, the two genes are the main factors of the connection between brain cells. Symptoms of Tourette Syndrome starts to show if there is an error caused by the NRXN1 and CNTN6 in the cortico-striatal -thalamocortical circuit, a brain circuit that associates with one’s emotions and movements.
Biological Psychiatry published a research in 2019 that was conducted in Yale University where the researchers were able to use a real-time functional magnetic resonance imaging neurofeedback (rt-fMRI-NF). Neurofeedback was used to observe conditions of people with depression, but Michelle Hampson, one of the collaborators of this research, said that it can also be an “intervention for training human brain function towards healthier patterns”. Teenagers between the age of 11 and 19 present a specific frequency when their tics start to show. There was a dramatic decrease of tics when the adolescents were assigned to training that reduces activity in the supplementary motor area of the brain region that causes the tics. This study was able to show that neurofeedback has the ability of treating Tourrette’s, whereas therapy and medication does not always result in improvement.