NEW HAVEN, Conn., May 13 (UPI) — A U.S. study has identified a rare genetic mutation that researchers say suggests a potentially novel approach for treatment of tics and Tourette syndrome.
Yale University School of Medicine scientists, led by Dr. Matthew State, said the mutation occurs in a gene required to produce histamine. They said that finding provides a new framework to understand many years of data on the role of histamine function in the brain.
Tourette syndrome is a relatively common neurological disorder characterized by tics — involuntary, rapid, sudden movements or vocalizations that occur repeatedly in the same way. The malady isn’t life-threatening but can be disabling.
State and his team said they found a family suffering the syndrome with a rare mutation in a gene that makes a protein is required for the production of histamine, which is an important neurotransmitter that influences a variety of brain functions.
“The opportunity to go directly from a rare genetic finding to a trial of a new approach to treatment in a neuropsychiatric disorder is very unusual,” State said. “There are several new medications in development that increase the release of brain histamine. Based on this genetic finding, these compounds would be good candidates for new treatments for Tourette.”
The research is to appear in the May 20 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.
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