Tics in patients with encephalitis

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


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  • University of Birmingham


BACKGROUND: Movement disorders have been described in the context of different types of encephalitis. Among hyperkinetic manifestations, tics have sporadically been reported in cases of encephalitis resulting from a range of aetiologies.

OBJECTIVE: This review aimed to assess the prevalence and characteristics of tics in patients with encephalitis.

METHODS: We conducted a systematic literature review of original studies on the major scientific databases, according to the standards outlined in the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines.

RESULTS: In addition to the established association between tics and encephalitis lethargica, our literature search identified reports of tics in patients with immune-mediated pathologies (including autoimmune encephalitides affecting the N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor, voltage-gated potassium channels, and glycine receptors) and infective processes (ranging from relatively common viral pathogens, such as herpes simplex, to prions, as in Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease). Tics were most commonly reported in the post-encephalitic period and involvement of the basal ganglia was frequently observed.

DISCUSSION: The association of new-onset tics and encephalitis, in the background of other neuropsychiatric abnormalities, has practical implications, potentially improving the detection of encephalitis based on clinical features. Future research should focus on the categorisation and treatment of hyperkinetic movement disorders associated with encephalitis.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1311-1323
Number of pages13
JournalNeurological Sciences
Issue number4
Early online date23 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021


  • Basal Ganglia, Encephalitis/epidemiology, Humans, Tic Disorders/diagnosis, Tics/epidemiology, Tourette Syndrome