The direction of our current research was very much  shaped by the feedback we received from individuals with tic disorders and their families.

When we asked them for their thoughts on our research priorities we were frequently told that what was really needed was a safe and effective non-drug treatment for tic disorder that could be used outside of the clinic and gave individuals control over their tics. This led directly to us focusing on the use of peripheral nerve stimulation as a means of bringing about changes in the brain networks associated with the production of tics.

We demonstrated that delivering rhythmic patterns of mild electrical stimulation to the median nerve at the wrist could be used to increase the power and the synchronicity of the brain oscillations (rhythms) associated with the suppression of movements, and that this type of stimulation was sufficient to dramatically reduce the frequency of tics and remove the urge-to-tic in individuals with tic disorders.

Importantly, we also showed that this type of stimulation did not materially affect the execution of volitional (intentional) movements or impair cognitive functions such as attention.

“All previous treatments that I have tried for Tourette Syndrome over the last 20+ years have been unsuccessful, and using the clinical trial stimulation device has provided me with the most successful and positive effects on my Tourette Syndrome of any treatment to date.

Over the four weeks using the device my daily average number of tics were reduced , my urge to tic was also drastically reduced, and I had a general constant feeling of calmness throughout my body with no unwanted side effects.”
Mrs Trudi Atkinson
Participant in the UK clinical trial
Under Development

NeuTrack App

We are working on the development of a phone app that will monitor Tourette syndrome clinical symptoms over time as well as some external factors that may influence these symptoms.

We are developing this App with the aim to helping people with Tourette syndrome:

Get a better insight and understanding of the symptoms associated with their Tourette syndrome
Allow them to rapidly and confidently learn which  factors (e.g. treatments) alleviate their symptoms and which do not
Allow them to learn which external factors trigger symptoms and which alleviate them
Provide reliable evidence of symptoms to present to their health care professional
We also hope that this app will assist clinicians with more reliable symptom management and treatment planning for their patients.

Throughout the development process of this app, we have held focus groups that included: carers of children with Tourette syndrome; teenagers and adults with Tourette syndrome; and healthcare professionals to help us develop the very best app.
Neupulse Wearable Wrist Device
Under development 

Wearable wrist device

In research conducted at the University of Nottingham with the support of Tourettes Action, we demonstrated the beneficial effects of median nerve stimulation for reducing tic frequency and tic intensity in Tourette syndrome. This study was conducted with relatively few participants and we have now started a larger double-blind clinical trial.

We have now developed prototype devices to use exclusively in a clinical trial starting in 2022. The aim of this clinical trial is to provide more evidence of the beneficial effects of median nerve stimulation for reducing tics in Tourette syndrome. This study will include home administration of median nerve stimulation and will investigate any benefits of daily stimulation sessions. 

In parallel to this trial, we are working on the development of a commercially available wearable wrist device that delivers median nerve stimulation at the press of a button with the aim to give people control of their tics.

“It's an approach that helped lower the intensity and frequency of my tics without any of the side effects I have had in the past from the different medications I have tried that just didn't seem to work.

Within the first week of using the device I began to notice a difference in my tic intensity and even in the first 2ish weeks after I stopped using the device, I still felt there was a significant decrease in intensity and frequency.”
Participant in the UK clinical trial
Frequently Asked Questions
An important focus of our research over the last few years has been to understand how the brain networks that give rise to tics could be effectively modified or controlled using non-invasive forms of brain stimulation so as to bring about a reduction in tics.

We estimate the device will be available by 2026. As the device will be a medical device regulated by medical device regulations this takes time to develop and validate. In addition there is the time required to have the product tested by independent testing houses to ensure that the device is safe and compliant with the standards

Our research suggests that the stimulation is suitable for anyone over 12 years of age.

The UK-wide double-blind sham-controlled clinical trial of the Neupulse device for suppressing tics in Tourette syndrome run by the University of Nottingham showed that:

People who received active stimulation experienced a significant reduction in the severity and frequency of their tics. On average, they saw a reduction in tic frequency of more than 25% while they received stimulation.

After using the device for 4 weeks, people who received active stimulation experienced a reduction in their tic severity of more than 35%. In total, 59% of the people who received active stimulation experienced a reduction in tic severity of at least 25% compared to baseline.

The clinical trial investigating the effects of median nerve stimulation on Tourette syndrome and associated symptoms has completed recruitment and no more volunteers are required.

Unfortunately No. Our research investigating the use of median nerve stimulation to reduce tics in Tourette syndrome is a novel approach and there is currently no other clinical trials or similar research going on outside of the UK.

Most definitely. Our research team at the University of Nottingham is continuously conducting research aimed at understanding brain health conditions like Tourette syndrome and developing new treatment approaches. If you would like to volunteer to take part in these research studies, please take a look at the following link:

Company number: 13198315 

Registered Office:
The Ingenuity Centre
University Of Nottingham Innovation Park
Triumph Road

Tourettes Friendly Organisation

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