What is

Tourette Syndrome

Tourette syndrome is a common neurodevelopmental disorder that begins in childhood or puberty. There are some where Tourette syndrome will follow them for the rest of their life, but normally the symptoms are likely to improve as time passes. Tourette’s is a condition that causes a person to make involuntary sounds and movements referred to as “tics”. Individuals with Tourette’s have random, repetitive, involuntary body movements and vocal sounds.

MOTOR TICS

It includes blinking, eye-rolling, twirling, jerking your head or other body parts.

VOCAL TICS

It includes coughing, clearing throat, making animal sounds and  swearing.

Tics could be described as hiccups, despite whether you like it or not, your body will do it anyways. If you try to suppress it, the next “tic” would be even bigger.

Studies that included children with diagnosed and un-diagnosed Tourette’s have estimated that 1 of every 162 children have Tourette’s. Tourette syndrome is often discovered in the age period between 6-18 years old and will gradually get better as they experience puberty. It is estimated that 200,000 Americans have the most severe form of TS and as many as one in 100 exhibits milder and fewer complex symptoms such as a chronic motor or vocal tics.

IMPORTANT: Tics that are seen lasting more than 1 year are classified as chronic tics. Chronic tics affect less than 1% of children and is different compared to Tourette Syndrome, in which multiple movement tics and at least one or more vocal tics must be present . Having “tics” DOESN’T necessarily mean you have Tourette’s. If you don’t have any vocal tics and the movement tics lasted less than 1 year, you are likely to not have Tourette Syndrome.

Causes of Tourette Syndrome

Currently, there are no exact clear causes of Tourette’s. It is believed to have both environmental causes and genetic causes. According to Boston Children’s Hospital, a parent with Tourette syndrome has a 50% chance, with each pregnancy, to pass the Tourette’s gene on . Non-genetic causes take up to 10-15% of the children. The factors that might lead to Tourette’s are the complications of pregnancy, low birth weight, head trauma, carbon monoxide poisoning, and encephalitis.

A very important point to note is that it is possible if a parent passes the genes of Tourettes to the child, the child might not experience any Tourette Syndrome. The probability for females is 30% and 10% for males.

IMPORTANT: The mental and physical health of a person could heavily influence the severity of Tourette’s. It has been proven that autoimmune processes can affect tics and exacerbate them in some cases.