• Gilles de la Tourette syndrome;
  • adults;
  • children;
  • oddball paradigm;
  • standard auditory ERP's

In 24 adults and 29 children both with Gilles de la Tourette syndrome and in 24 control adults and 17 control children we studied auditory event-related potentials (ERP's) evoked in 2 different oddball paradigms: a passive listening paradigm (PLP) in which subjects had only to attend tones (260 standards, 40 deviants), followed by an active discrimination paradigm (ADP) in which subjects had to press a microswitch in response to the deviant tones. In the adult Tourette patients the PLP disclosed between 200–300 msec at all derivations (Fz, Cz, Pz, C3, C4, P3, P4) a significantly more negative activity than in the controls. In the Tourette children such a result was only found at Fz. In the ADP the differences between both adult groups disappeared, but the curves of the control children became now significantly more positive than those of the Tourette ones except at C3 and P3. Between 200–300 msec the curves of all 4 groups were significantly less negative in the ADP than in the PLP. This decrease in negativity was significantly larger in the adult Tourette patients than in the adult controls, but in the children groups the reverse occurred. It is hypothesized that the differences in amplitude between patients and controls and between both paradigms are due to differences in amplitude of an endogenous negative component overlapping the exogenous N100–N200 standard curve. Based on this hypothesis the results could suggest that one of the problems in Tourette syndrome is an increased attention to non-relevant stimuli.