DefinitionTourette syndrome (TS) is a type of tic disorder. Tics are sudden muscle movements or vocal sounds that can range from mild to severe. TS, a neurological condition, is usually diagnosed during childhood.
CausesTS may be a genetic condition, passed from parents to children. This is still being studied. TS may also be linked to problems with dopamine levels, a chemical in the brain that sends signals to neurons.
|TS may be inherited through genes, which make up DNA.|
|Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.|
Risk FactorsTS is more common in males. Risk factors include:
- Family history of TS, other tic disorders, or obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Low birth weight
- Maternal factors, such as stress during pregnancy
SymptomsSymptoms can range from mild to severe. They can occur suddenly, and the length of time they last can vary. Tics may temporarily decrease with concentration or distraction. During times of stress, they may occur more often.Tics can be muscle movements (motor tics) or vocal sounds (vocal tics). They can also be characterized as simple or complex. Here are some common examples:
- Motor tics
- Simple—eye blinking, facial grimacing, head jerking, arm or leg thrusting
- Complex—jumping, smelling, touching things or other people, twirling around
- Vocal tics
- Simple—throat clearing, coughing, sniffing, grunting, yelping, barking
- Complex—saying words or phrases that do not make sense in a given situation, saying obscene or socially unacceptable words (called coprolalia)
- Attention deficit disorder with or without hyperactivity (ADD or ADHD)
- Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
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