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People with chronic tic disorders have unintentional repetitive movements and vocalizations. Previous research has suggested a link between strep and tic and behavioral disorders.
"The link between streptococcus and tics in children is still a matter of intense debate," said study author Dr. Davide Martino, of the University of Calgary in Canada. "We wanted to look at that question, as well as a possible link between strep and behavioral symptoms like obsessive-compulsive disorder [OCD] and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder [ADHD]."
Every four months, researchers took throat swabs and blood samples from the children to check for strep bacteria. This was done for an average of 16 months.
At the start of the study, 59 children tested positive for strep bacteria. During the study, 103 children had a new exposure to strep bacteria.
However, there was an association between strep exposure and an approximately 20% increase in ADHD symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsiveness, according to the study. The findings were published Feb. 10 in the online issue of the journal Neurology.
"While our findings suggest that strep is not likely to be one of the main triggers for making tics worse, more research is needed into other possible explanations," Martino said in a journal news release.
"For example, the social stress of having this disorder could be implicated in making tics worse more than infections. It's also possible another pathogen might be triggering an immune response associated with tic worsening," he said.
SOURCE: Neurology, news release, Feb. 10, 2021
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