University of Lisbon, Portugal
Tourette syndrome (TS) is a neuropsychiatric disorder that is characterized by the manifestation of motor and phonic tics, which are often preceded by premonitory urges, uncomfortable sensations that typically precede and are ceased by tics. Tourette syndrome has an estimated prevalence of 1% in children and adolescents, but its etiology and pathophysiology are still not well-understood, which helps to explain why there are still fundamental questions about the best treatment options for patients with TS. In this talk, I will address those issues by showing how dopaminergic hyperinnervation may be causally implicated in (premonitory-urge-driven) tic learning and expression in TS, as well as how tic learning and expression may be attenuated by standard pharmacological treatments of TS, using biologically inspired reinforcement-learning models.
Hosted by Carles Soriano-Mas
Vasco Conceição is a postdoctoral researcher at Instituto de Medicina Molecular João Lobo Antunes, an invited Assistant Professor at Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade de Lisboa, and a member of the Portuguese Tourette syndrome association (APST). Vasco’s research is encompassed in the emerging field of ‘Computational Psychiatry’, and he is mostly focused on the study of Tourette syndrome and obsessive-compulsive disorder, two extremely related and comorbid neuropsychiatric disorders. Vasco completed his PhD in January 2020, under supervision of Prof. Dr. Tiago Maia (thesis title: ‘The computational roles of dopamine and serotonin in Tourette syndrome and obsessive-compulsive disorder’).