medRxiv. 2024 Jan 9:2024.01.07.24300816. doi: 10.1101/2024.01.07.24300816. Preprint.


BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: Tourette Syndrome (TS) and Persistent Motor or Vocal Tic Disorders (PMVT) are more prevalent in males (vs. females). Females with TS may have a delay in diagnosis, and more complex tic features (vs. males). With respect to comorbidities, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is more prevalent in females; attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is more prevalent in males. Less is known about sex differences in PMVT. This study analyzes sex differences in outcomes among individuals with TS and PMVT in the Tourette Association of America International Consortium for Genetics dataset (TAAICG).

DESIGN/METHODS: Data from 2403 individuals (N=2109 TS; N=294 PMVT) from the TAAICG were analyzed to explore the relationship between sex and TS or PMVT outcomes: age at tic onset; age at diagnosis; time-to-diagnosis; tic severity; and comorbidity rates. Regression models were adjusted for age and family relationships to examine the impact of sex on outcomes.

RESULTS: Females with TS (25.5% of the sample) had a later age of symptom onset (6.5±2.8 vs. 6.0±2.7; p=0.001), later age at diagnosis (13.3±11.2 vs. 10.7±8.1; p=0.0001), and a longer time-to-diagnosis [3 (1,7) vs. 2 (1,5), p=0.01] than males. The total Yale-Global Tic Severity Scale (YGTSS) was lower in females with TS (28.4±9.1 vs. 30.7±8.7); p<0.0001); OCD was slightly more prevalent in females (55% vs. 48.7%; p=0.01) although OCD severity did not differ by sex; ADHD was more prevalent in males (55.7% vs 38.9%; p<0.001). Females with TS had 0.46 lower odds of being diagnosed with TS (p<0.00001). Females with PMVT (42.9% of the sample) had an earlier age of symptom onset (7.9±3.3 vs. 8.9±3.7; p=0.05). Motor or vocal tic severity (YGTSS) was not significantly different. OCD, but not ADHD, was more prevalent in females (OCD: 41.9% vs. 22.2%; p<0.001: ADHD:16.5% vs 21.0%; p=0.4).

CONCLUSION: Females with TS are less likely to be formally diagnosed and have a later age of symptom onset, later age at diagnosis, longer time-to-diagnosis, higher prevalence of OCD, and lower prevalence of ADHD (vs. males). Females with PMVT have an earlier age of symptom onset, higher prevalence of OCD, but similar ADHD prevalence rates (vs. males). Females with TS and PMVT may be clinically different than males with TS. Future research is needed to understand differences longitudinally in TS and PMVT.

PMID:38260551 | PMC:PMC10802652 | DOI:10.1101/2024.01.07.24300816