BACKGROUND: The aim of this study was to test, through a chronobiologic approach, the existence of a significant circannual rhythm of tics and obsessive-compulsive symptoms in patients with Obsessive-Compulsive Tic Disorder (OCTD). The chronotype effect on tics and OC symptoms during seasons was also studied.
METHODS: Patients with a diagnosis of OCTD (N = 37; mean age = 18.78 ± 8.61) underwent four clinical evaluations: Winter (WIN), Spring (SPR), Summer (SUM) and Autumn (AUT). Tics were evaluated through Yale Global Tic Severity Scale (YGTSS) and OC symptoms through Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale (Y-BOCS). Patients' chronotype was assessed by the Horne-Ostberg morningness-eveningness questionnaire (MEQ), which categorizes subjects according to the individuals'chronotype, being morning-type, evening-type, and neither-type.
RESULTS: A statistically significant circannual rhythm was observed for OC symptoms (p = 0.007), with the acrophase occurring between AUT and WIN. Y-BOCS differed along the year (p = 0.0003 and η2p = 0.40) with lower results in SUM compared to WIN (p < 0.05) and AUT (p < 0.01). Tics displayed no circannual rhythm and YGTSS scores were comparable among seasons. Patients were classified as 15 morning-types (40.5%) 15 neither-types (40.5%) and 7 evening-types (19.0%). YGTSS data were similar for all chronotypes while Y-BOCS results were greater during SUM in evening-types than morning-type patients (p < 0.05; 15.7 ± 5.2 vs 3.4 ± 6.0).
LIMITATIONS: It is essential to investigate the existence of tics and OC symptoms circannual rhythms over the course of more than one year with a larger sample.
CONCLUSIONS: OC symptoms displayed a significant circannual rhythm and were influenced by patients' chronotype. On the contrary, tics resulted similar among seasons and chronotypes.