What is Tourette syndrome?
Tourette syndrome is a neurological disorder characterized by repetitive movements or unwanted sounds (tics) that can’t be easily controlled. Tics are abrupt, purposeless, and involuntary vocal sounds or muscular jerks. One might repeatedly blink their eyes, shrug should or blurt out unusual sounds. Although there's no cure for Tourette syndrome, treatments are available. Many people with Tourette syndrome don't need treatment when symptoms aren't troublesome. Tics often lessen or become controlled after the teen years.
Tics, the essential component of the syndrome, are manifested in a variety of forms with different durations and degrees of complexity. There are two types of tics:
• Motor tics are movements of the body.
o shrugging the shoulders
o jerking an arm
• Vocal tics are sounds that a person makes with his or her voice.
o vocal tics include humming
o clearing the throat
o yelling out a word or phrase
Tics can be:
• Simple tics involve just a few parts of the body.
• Complex tics usually involve several parts of the body and can have a pattern.
• Family history of Tourette syndrome or other tic disorders might increase the risk of developing Tourette syndrome.
• Gender. Males are about three to four times more likely than females to develop Tourette syndrome.
Tourette syndrome by the numbers:
• In the United States, 1 of every 360 children, ages 6-17, have been diagnosed.
• Symptoms usually begin when a child is 5 to 10 years of age
• Affects people of all racial and ethnic groups.
• Boys are affected 3 to 5 times more often than girls.
• More than one-third of people with Tourette syndrome also have OCD
• Tourette syndrome is associated with a non-genetic cause in 10-15% of children.
• 42.6% have at least one co-occurring chronic health condition.
Diagnosis criteria used for Tourette syndrome include:
• Motor and vocal tics are present, although not necessarily at the same time
• Tics occurs several times a day, nearly every day or intermittently, for more than a year
• Tics begin before age 18
• Tics aren't caused by medications, other substances or another medical condition
To rule out other causes of tics, your doctor might recommend:
• Blood tests
• Imaging studies such as MRI
A comprehensive evaluation of the child or adolescent's psychological, social, and educational status is recommended, as well as a thorough medical, developmental, and family assessment.
Treatment is aimed at controlling tics that interfere with everyday activities and functioning. There's no cure for Tourette syndrome, but when tics aren't severe, treatment might not be necessary.
"Tourette Syndrome." Tourette Syndrome Overview- Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 21 Nov. 2015. Web. 19 Apr. 2017.
"Tourette’s Disorder." Stanford Health Care (SHC) - Stanford Medical Center. Stanford Medical Center, 27 Jan. 2015. Web. 19 Apr. 2017.
"Data & Statistics." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 05 Dec. 2016. Web. 19 Apr. 2017.
Ciattei, Jennifer. "The Tourette's Center." Johns Hopkins Medicine, Based in Baltimore, Maryland. N.p., 26 Apr. 2016. Web. 19 Apr. 2017.