Relationship of Movements and Behaviors to Group A Streptococcus Infections in Elementary School Children

Tanya K. Murphy, Lisa A. Snider, P. Jane Mutch, Elaine Harden, Annette Zaytoun, Paula J. Edge, Eric A. Storch, Mark C.K. Yang, Giselle Mann, Wayne K. Goodman, Susan E. Swedo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Background: Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcus (PANDAS) research is based on the hypothesis that infections trigger changes in behavior and movement in children. Methods: We enrolled 693 children (ages 3 to 12 years) into a systematic, longitudinal study. Data were collected monthly for 8 months (October-May) to determine point prevalence of Group A Streptococcal (GAS) infections, tics, behavior, and choreiform movements. Simultaneous throat cultures were obtained, and relational analyses were made between GAS and movement/observation ratings. Results: Combined behavior/GAS associations (concurrent with or 3 subsequent months to GAS) revealed a strong relationship, relative risk (RR) of 1.71 (p < .0001). Detailed analysis revealed that balance/swaying and non-tic grimacing were responsible for a significant proportion of this association (RR = 2.92, p < .0001). A strong seasonal pattern was found, with fall being more significant for GAS infections and observation ratings (p < .0001) compared with winter/spring. Children with repeated streptococcus (n = 64) showed higher rates of behavior and distal choreiform observations (p = .005). Conclusions: Motor/behavior changes were noted to occur in relationship to positive GAS culture with support that repeated GAS increases risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)279-284
Number of pages6
JournalBiological Psychiatry
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 1 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • ADHD
  • behavior
  • choreiform
  • group A streptococcus
  • tics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biological Psychiatry


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