Rapid onset of functional tic-like behaviors among adolescent girls—Minnesota, September–November 2021

Melanie J. Firestone, Stacy Holzbauer, Christine Conelea, Richard N Danila, Kirk Smith, Rebecca H. Bitsko, Susan M. Klammer, Stefan Gingerich, Ruth Lynfield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: On October 15, 2021, the Minnesota Department of Health began investigating a school cluster of students experiencing tic-like behaviors thought to be related to recent COVID-19. The objective of this report is to describe the investigation, key findings, and public health recommendations. Methods: Affected students and proxies were interviewed with a standardized questionnaire including validated depression and anxiety screens. Results: Eight students had tic-like behaviors lasting >24 h after initial report with onset during September 26–October 30, 2021. All eight students were females aged 15–17 years. All students either had a history of depression or anxiety or scored as having more than minimal anxiety or depression on validated screens. Four students previously had confirmed COVID-19: the interval between prior COVID-19 and tic symptom onset varied from more than a year prior to tic symptom onset to at the time of tic symptom onset. Conclusion: The onset of tic-like behaviors at one school in Minnesota appeared to be related more to underlying mental health conditions than recent COVID-19. These findings highlight the need to better understand functional tic-like behaviors and adolescent mental health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1063261
JournalFrontiers in Neurology
Volume13
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 19 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
CC receives research support from National Institute of Mental Health, including NIMH-funded SBIR grants awarded to Posit Science (R43MH121209 and R43MH124542). She has received speaker honoraria and travel reimbursement from the Tourette Association of America for talks and trainings.

Funding Information:
CC receives research support from National Institute of Mental Health, including NIMH-funded SBIR grants awarded to Posit Science (R43MH121209 and R43MH124542). She has received speaker honoraria and travel reimbursement from the Tourette Association of America for talks and trainings.

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2023 Firestone, Holzbauer, Conelea, Danila, Smith, Bitsko, Klammer, Gingerich and Lynfield.

Keywords

  • adolescent girls
  • functional neurologic disorders
  • mental health
  • tic disorder
  • tics and Tourette Syndrome

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article

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