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A revised method for measuring distraction by tactile stimulation.

Abstract

Sensory hypersensitivity (SH) refers to the tendency to attend to subtle stimuli, to persist in attending to them, and to find them noxious. SH is relatively common in several developmental disorders including Tourette Syndrome and Chronic Tic Disorder (TS/CTD). This study was an attempt to quantify the extent to which a mild tactile stimulus distracts one's attention in TS/CTD. Fourteen adults with TS/CTD and 14 tic-free control subjects completed questionnaires regarding SH and ADHD, and TS/CTD subjects completed self-report measures of current and past tic disorder symptoms and of current obsessions and compulsions. All subjects performed a sustained attention choice reaction time task during alternating blocks in which a mildly annoying stimulus (von Frey hair) was applied to the ankle ("ON") or was not applied ("OFF"). We present here the clinical and cognitive task data for each subject.

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