Major limitations of previous research addressing susceptibility factors in Tourette Syndrome (the best examined tic syndrome until now), particularly those related to the environment, have been the relatively small study sizes, the retrospective nature of risk factor studies, and the lack of an integrated, multidisciplinary research strategy. Moreover, the study of risk factors has been hampered by the lack of objective parameters in some areas (e.g., newly available analyses of cortisol in hair – hardly used in this field so far – will complement and strengthen retrospective rating scales on psychosocial stress).

The present project aims to overcome these limitations by undertaking pre-clinical studies in relevant animal models and large-scale cohort studies addressing susceptibility factors in relation to the onset and course of tic disorders and associated comorbidities from clinical, epidemiological, genetic, microbiological and immunological angles.