Tourette's Syndrome

Genetic disorder DNA

Last Updated December 20th, 2021

What is Tourette’s syndrome?

Tourette’s syndrome is a type of tic disorder. Tics are uncontrollable movements or involuntary sounds made by a person which is usually caused by some issue in the nervous system. Tic disorders such as Tourette’s syndrome are generally childhood-onset neurodevelopmental issues. Tic disorders are of  3 types – Tourette’s syndrome , Chronic Tic Disorder, and Provisional tic disorder. Tourette’s syndrome is defined as a tic disorder with involuntary movements (motor). Chronic tic disorder could be either motor or vocal. And Provisional tic disorder comprises of both types of tics. 
 
Tourette’s syndrome is said to onset when an individual has experienced at least 2 motor tics and 1 vocal tic within one year. Chronic Tic disorder patients show only one type of tic for a longer period of time. Provisional tic is supposed to occur if there are tics but for a shorter duration of time. 
 
People with Tourette’s may seek a secluded spot to release their symptoms, or there may be a marked increase in tics after a period of suppression at school or at work. 
 

What could be the cause of Tourette’s syndrome?

Genetic disorder DNATourette’s syndrome exact cause is still unknown. In fact, none of the Tic disorders have any known cause as such. It has been observed to have genetic origins. In most cases, Tourette’s syndrome is passed through heriditary. Scientists have reasons to believe that the exact cause or causes of Tourette’s syndrome can be best explained as a series of complex interactions between genetic and other environmental factors. 

Having said that, the areas of brain that could be associated with Tourette’s syndrome  have been recently identified. The part of brain linked with the tics of Tourette’s syndrome is actually the basal ganglia, the section of brain responsible for controlling bodily movements.

The difference between the nerve cell and neurotransmitters in normal human beings and individuals with Tourette’s syndrome can provide the missing link in understanding the real cause of Tourette’s syndrome.

What are the main signs and symptoms of this condition?

These are the main symptoms exhibited by a person with Tourette’s syndrome :
 
Physical tics can manifest in the form of 
– Blinking
– Eye rolling
– Sudden jerks in limbs
– Shrugging shoulder
– Jumping
– Twirling
– Touching other people 
 
Vocal tics can be seen in the form of 
– Unexplained coughing
– Grunting
– Whistling
– Clicking noises
– Animal sounds
– Saying words involuntrailty
– Repeating a sound/phrase
 
The severity and frequency of these tics can vary and generally tend to be high during 
 
– Fatigue
– Illness
Anxiety
– Stress
 
People with Tourette’s syndrome can also show behavioral symptoms such as 
 
– Antisocial mannerisms
– Episodes of sudden rage
– Socially inappropriate behavior
 
Individuals with Tourette’s syndrome often get a feeling or a sensation much like the one gets before sneezing, just before they experience a tic. These can be in the form of :
 
– Burning sensation in the eyes
Sore throat
– Itchy feeling in the joints
 
In some cases these tics can be controlled, but it can get exhausting trying to control or limit them. With concentration and practice it is possible to control tics to some extent. The frequency of these tics reduce if the individual is engrossed or engaged in some activity like reading a book.  Children may be less aware of the premonitory urge associated with tics than are adults, but their awareness tends to increase with maturity. Most cases of Tourette’s in older individuals are mild and almost unnoticeable
 
Other complex motor tics may actually appear purposeful, including sniffing or touching objects, hopping, jumping, bending, or twisting. 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. 
 

How is Tourette’s syndrome diagnosed?

This condition is diagnosed by a neurologist. There are no specific tests or scans to diagnose this condition. However, MRIs and CT-scans would be required to rule out other neurological conditions that may present similar symptoms of involuntary movements. The condition is diagnosed as Tourette’s syndrome if there have been a number of cases of tics in the past one year and the onset of these tics have happened before the age of 18.

This condition is frequently misdiagnosed or underdiagnosed owing to the similarity of symptoms with many other neurological disorders and high variance in severity and frequency of tics. The diagnosis mainly includes finding about the family history of the patient for Tourette’s syndrome and ruling out other causes of tics.

Can Tourette’s syndrome be treated?

In many cases, Tourette’s syndrome presents as a benign condition and doesn’t require any treatment at all.There is no cure for Tourette’s syndrome. Treatment protocol mainly includes medications that can bring down the severity of the involuntary motions and/or vocals.Neuroleptics (drugs that may be used to treat psychotic and non-psychotic disorders) are the most consistently useful medications for tic suppression; a number are available but some are more effective than others (for example, haloperidol and pimozide). 
 
Many neuroleptic side effects can be managed by initiating treatment slowly and reducing the dose when side effects occur. The most common side effects of neuroleptics include sedation, weight gain, and cognitive dulling.  Neurological side effects such as tremor, dystonic reactions (twisting movements or postures), parkinsonian-like symptoms, and other dyskinetic (involuntary) movements are less common and are readily managed with dose reduction.
 
Discontinuing neuroleptics after long-term use must be done slowly to avoid rebound increases in tics and withdrawal dyskinesias. 

Is it possible to prevent the onset of Tourette’s syndrome?

adhd adultSince this condition is largely genetic, there are no preventive methods for Tourette’s syndrome. Although there is no cure for Tourette syndrome, the condition in most people improves in the late teenage phase and early 20s. As a result, some may actually become free from the symptoms or no longer need medication for tic control.

Although Tourette syndrome is generally lifelong and chronic, it is not a degenerative condition, unlike many other neurological disorders. Individuals with Tourette syndrome  have a normal life expectancy and this condition does not impair intelligence or cognitive skills. Although tic symptoms tend to decrease with age, it is possible that the comorbid neurobehavioral disorders such as ADHD, OCD, depression, generalized anxiety, panic attacks, and mood swings can persist or even increase and cause impairment in adult life.

 

Dos and Don'ts

Dos
  • If the child’s tic severity is too high, he/she should be placed in an educational institute that meets the child’s needs.
  • Beware of the side-effects the medications can cause. 
  • Learn about all the environmental triggers that can cause tics such as stress or excitement.

 

Don'ts
  • Stop medications abruptly or change dosage without consulting the doctor
  • Refrain from getting proper professional help in case the symptoms become worse. 

 

 

 

 

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Carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) test CEA or carcinoembryonic test detects the presence of CEA antigen in your blood mainly & determines the effectiveness…
vdrl test syphilis
VDRL Test The VDRL test is a blood test that is used to diagnose sexually transmitted or venereal diseases, primarily…
iron deficiency profile
Iron Deficiency Profile An iron deficiency profile is a battery of blood tests which are performed in order to determine the…
woman with abdominal pain holding ovulation calendar
Ovulation – facts to know about ovulation Learn how and when ovulation occurs, demystify common misconceptions, identify symptoms, methods of detection and right period for…
Jack in the box fast food
Jack In the Box : The perils of surging fast food culture in the USA Jack in the Box - How a culture of fast-food can clog your arteries, weaken your heart, fatten…
Astaxanthin: Why experts believe it could be 550x more potent than vitamin E! What is astaxanthin and why is this new supplement on the block touted as the most powerful antioxidant…
Experts reveal the safest ways to perform an enema at home The idea of pushing some up your rectal area might make you queasy but an enema could actually…
Tart Cherry: The healthiest excuse for taking that second serving of pie Tart cherry has been traditionally used in delectable desserts such as pies. Recent studies have revealed that its…
Gua sha: Scraping away layers of pain with this ancient healing tool Gua sha is an ancient oriental healing method which focuses on scraping the body with specific tools to…
Vagus nerve: 7 health benefits of stimulating the “gut-brain” connection As a matter of fact, there are two vagus nerves namely the left and the right but is…
Oxalates: How healthy greens can sometimes be bad news for your kidneys Oxalates are compounds present in a majority of healthy foods. However, at times an overconsumption of these could…
Urologist: When should you visit one and why? A urologist can treat not only genitourinary problems of both men and women but also can treat various…
The Cabbage Soup Diet: The healthiest way to instant weight loss Cabbage soup diet rapid weight loss diet for those who want to shed those extra pounds in less…
C-Reactive Protein Test A CRP or c-reactive protein blood test is an important diagnostic tool used to determine the risk of…
valproic acid test
Valproic Acid Test Valproic acid test is performed to generally check for psychiatric and even neurological conditions such as bipolar disease…
malarial antigen test
Malaria Antigen Test A malaria antigen test is a rapid diagnostic test (RDT) that can detect malarial antigens (proteins) in your…
liver detox facts
7 liver detox facts and why ignoring these could kill you! Are you taking care of this organ that handles over 500 different vital functions in your body? Your…
dance health benefits
5 unbelievable effects of dance on your overall health! You enjoy dancing, but did you know what else it does to your body? Dancing is not only…
aspartame or sugar
Aspartame – Hidden truths about this storm in a teacup Aspartame, the artificial sweetener, has gone under the scanner on several occasions for allegedly doing more harm than…
High Fiber Diet – Fire up your fiber intake for these health benefits! Regular bowels, healthy detox, higher immunity, and guaranteed weight loss - a high fiber diet can bring all…
CLA: A breakthrough weight loss supplement with minimal side effects Tried every weight loss supplement in the market with no substantial gain? Why not try CLA supplements, derived…
How can berberine supplements help you live longer and healthier? Berberine is a turmeric look-alike herbal extract that is credited with numerous health benefits ranging from diabetes cure…
Carb Cycling: Weighing the pros vs the cons of this diet routine Completely discarding carbs from your life will do you more harm than good. Read more about carb cycling,…
How accurate is the hair follicle drug test? Hair follicle drug test is one of the best ways to identify drug use in professional circles. But…
Appendix pain: Recent findings on this not-so vestigial organ The exact function of the appendix is still not clear. Some consider it as an organ that once…
Hysteroscopy_procedure
Hysteroscopy Hysteroscopy is a minimally invasive tool to help specialists view the uterus to diagnose and even treat several…
ANTIPHOSPHOLIPIDANTIBODY(APL)_IgG
Antiphospholipid (APL) antibody-IgG The Antiphospholipid Antibody testing is a blood test used to determine an autoimmune disorder called Antiphospholipid syndrome linked…
amylase test
Amylase Test Amylase test is done by checking the level of this protein in the blood sample and also in…
sodium blood test
Blood Sodium Test A blood sodium test measures the amount of sodium (an important electrolyte) in your body. It is also…
shoudler exercises
Keep your shoulders pain-free with these shoulder exercises Shoulder exercises are important in order to prevent chronic back and neck pain. Learn more about how you…
alcohol toxic
7 startling facts that will make you quit alcohol today Does drinking really make you friendly and happy? How many calories does a can of cold beer add…
yoga health benefits
How to practice yoga for astounding health benefits Can a 5000-year-old system be the ultimate body healer? Did you know yoga can make you smarter and…
oral hygiene tips
6 shocking consequences of bad oral hygiene (and how to avoid them) Did you know bad breath is not just turning off, but also harms your body in ways you…
Drinking water benefits
8 reasons why you should grab a bottle of water now! Did you know you don't have to be thirsty for hours to be dehydrated?You could be dehydrated right…
ginger benefits healthy
Ginger: Why is it called the root of all remedies? Be it in form of tea or juice, ginger has a lot to offer when it comes to…
Is it possible to achieve full body detox with Master Cleanse? Master cleanse is a diet consisting of a lemonade based beverage, a salt water drink and a herbal…
Psyllium Husk: More than just an effective natural laxative Psyllium husk, or isabgol, is a popular natural laxative . But did you in addition to regulating bowels,…
lipase test
Lipase Test A lipase test is a blood test performed to quantitatively measure the level of the enzyme lipase in…
Diabetes blood test
Diabetic Profile The diabetic profile is a set of tests used for testing and monitoring the various kinds of Diabetes…
Okra: How can this nutrient-dense vegetable help you fight diabetes? Okra is a food which is rich in nutrients and minerals which are extremely essential for a healthy…
Period sanitary napkin-menstruaion-blood-colors
Period blood – what it says about your health Your period blood color and consistency indicate what is happening in your body. Is your blood bright red…
kshar sutra
Kshar sutra treatment for piles, fissures and fistula Read to know the benefits and side effects of kshar sutra to treat anal piles, fissures, and fistula…
lose weight fast
12 easy and instant steps to successful weight loss Do you want to lose weight without losing your mind? Does weight loss always mean saying goodbye to…

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