Tourette syndrome - Definition
It is a neurological disorder affecting the central nervous system (CNS) of sufferers, making them twitch their face continuously. It is often erroneously called Turrets Sundrome. It has been named after a French neurologist, Dr Georges Gilles de la Tourette.
Tourette syndrome – Incidence
Approximately 1 out of every 100 individual is said to have this disease. In the U.S alone, around 272,000 people are believed to have this condition. Around 10 in every 1000 children in the U.S have this disease.
Tourette syndrome – Risk Factors
It usually affects individuals of a young age, especially teenagers. It is more common in males than females.
Tourette syndrome - Symptoms
The condition gives rise to the following signs and symptoms:
Motor tics, or involuntary muscular movements. These are marked by:
These include sounds like:
3. Throat clearing noises
6. Clicking the tongue
These involve involuntary actions like:
1. Uttering words and phrases without context
2. Repetition of words uttered by self or others
3. Utter swear words loudly and again and again (occasional)
The abnormality of the symptoms and behavior exhibited by sufferers make others view them as peculiar and bizarre characters.
Other associated symptoms include:
Tourette syndrome in Children
It is difficult to raise children affected by this condition. Affected kids usually exhibit motor and vocal tics, which can be countered with therapy and drugs. The disorder arises in childhood and may stay on for more than a year. It is more common in male children. Other than tics, sufferers might experience problems in learning and having a proper mood.
Tourette Syndrome - Causes
The cause is not exactly clear. However, heredity is supposed to be primarily responsible. Patients are found to inherit the disease from parents. The transmission is genetic as the disorder is non-contagious. People with one parent affected by the disorder have a 50% risk of developing it during adolescent years.
The disorder affects Dopamine and several other neurotransmitters in the brain. A Dopamine imbalance affects healthy functioning of the CNS and consequently, voluntary movements. Parkinson’s disease may also ensue from severe deficiency in Dopamine levels.
Tourette Syndrome - Diagnosis
Its diagnosis involves:
Tourette Syndrome - Differential Diagnosis
Physicians have to ensure that the symptoms are not a result of conditions like:
Tourette Syndrome - Treatment
Treatment generally begins after careful observation of the symptoms and only when the disorder interferes with the daily activities of sufferers. Treatment usually involves use of:
Tranquilizers (Navane, Mellaril and Clonidine), Antidepressants (Paxil, Lithobid and Sertraline) and Stimulants (Pemoline, Dexedrine and Ritalin) are used to lower the frequency of tics.
It helps reduce psychological stress and anxiety, which worsen tics. In children, counseling often helps cure the condition.
Sufferers are taught ways to control tics and avoiding trigger factors for the disorder. Special training is imparted to patients to help them reduce bodily motions and control swearing.
Tourette Syndrome – Prognosis
The outcome is usually positive with proper treatment. This is not a life-threatening disease and often resolves in the later years of life.
Tourette Syndrome Association
Tourette Syndrome Association (TSA) is located in New York, US. It is a non-profit organization that serves individuals affected by TS. It aims to treat and manage the symptoms of the disorder.
The contact details of the organization have been given below:
Tourette Syndrome Association
Tourette Syndrome –Pictures
These images would help you understand the physical appearance of TS sufferers:
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