Tourette syndrome (TS) is a neurological disorder characterized by repetitive, stereotyped, involuntary movements and vocalizations called tics. The disorder is named for Dr. Georges Gilles de la Tourette, he first described the condition in an 86-year-old French noblewoman.
The early symptoms of TS are almost always noticed first in childhood, with the average onset between the ages of 7 and 10 years. Most people with the condition experience their worst symptoms in their early teens, with improvement occurring in the late teens and continuing into adulthood. Males are affected about three to four times more often than females. Many teens with TS have other conditions, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Learning disabilities are common in people with TS. They also may have trouble sleeping, because Tics do not go away during sleep but will calm down a little more.
Doctors and scientists don't know the exact cause of TS, but some research suggests that it occurs when there's a problem with how nerves communicate in the brain. Some of the more common simple tics include eye blinking and other vision irregularities, facial grimacing, shoulder shrugging, and head or shoulder jerking. Simple vocalizations might include repetitive throat-clearing, sniffing, or grunting sounds. Complex motor tics might include facial grimacing combined with a head twist and a shoulder shrug. Simple vocal tics may include throat-clearing, sniffing/snorting, grunting, or barking. More complex vocal tics include words or phrases. Perhaps the most dramatic and disabling tics include motor movements that result in self-harm such as punching oneself in the face, (uttering swear words) or echolalia (repeating the words or phrases of others). Some tics are preceded by an urge or sensation in the affected muscle group, commonly called a premonitory urge. Some with TS will describe a need...