Functional brain asymmetry attentional modulation and interhemispheric transfer in boys with Tourette syndrome

Research Area: Research Year: 2007
Type of Publication: Article
Authors: Plessen, K J; Lundervold, A; GrĂ¼ner, R; Hammar, A; Peterson, B S; Hugdahl, Kenneth
We tested the hypothesis that children with Tourette syndrome (TS) would exhibit aberrant brain lateralization compared to a healthy control (HC) group in an attention-modulation version of a verbal dichotic listening task using consonant-vowel syllables. The modulation of attention to focus on the right ear stimulus in the dichotic listening situation is thought to involve the same prefrontal attentional and executive functions that are involved in the suppression of tics, whereas, performance when focusing attention on the left ear stimulus additionally involves a callosal transfer of information. In light of presumed disturbances in transfer of information across the corpus callosum, we hypothesized that children with TS would, however, have difficulty modulating the functional lateralization that ensues through a shift of attention to the left side. This hypothesis was tested by exploring the correlations between CC size and left ear score in the forced-left condition. Twenty boys with TS were compared with 20 age- and handedness-matched healthy boys. Results indicated similar performance in the TS and HC groups for lateralization of hemispheric function. TS subjects were also able to shift attention normally when instructed to focus on the right ear stimulus. When instructed to focus attention on the left ear stimulus, however, performance deteriorated in the TS group. Correlations with CC area further supported the hypothesized presence of deviant callosal functioning in the TS group.
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