Association between pre- and perinatal exposures and Tourette syndrome or chronic tic disorder in the ALSPAC cohort
Carol A. Mathews, Jeremiah M. Scharf, Laura L. Miller, Corrie Macdonald-Wallis, Debbie A. Lawlor, Yoav Ben-Shlomo
  • Declaration of interest

    C.A.M. and J.M.S. have received travel support from the Tourette Syndrome Association (TSA). C.A.M. is a member of the TSA Medical Advisory Board.



Tourette syndrome and chronic tic disorder are heritable but aetiologically complex. Although environment plays a role in their development, existing studies of non-genetic risk factors are inconsistent.


To examine the association between pre- and perinatal exposures and Tourette syndrome/chronic tic disorder in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) prospective longitudinal pre-birth cohort.


Relationships between exposures and Tourette syndrome/chronic tic disorder were examined in 6090 children using logistic regression.


Maternal alcohol and cannabis use, inadequate maternal weight gain and parity were associated with Tourette syndrome or Tourette syndrome/chronic tic disorder. Other previously reported exposures, including birth weight and prenatal maternal smoking, were not associated with Tourette syndrome/chronic tic disorder.


This study supports previously reported relationships between Tourette syndrome/chronic tic disorder and prenatal alcohol exposure, and identifies additional previously unexplored potential prenatal risk factors.


  • Funding

    This research was funded by grants from the Tourette Syndrome Association, National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke (R01 NS444653 and U01 NS40024), National Institute for Mental Health (K23 MH085057), United States National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (R01 DK077659) and the Wellcome Trust (WT087997MA). The latter also funded the salary of C.M-W. in relation to her work on this paper.

Royal College of Psychiatrists, This paper accords with the NIH Public Access policy and is governed by the licence available at

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