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Tourette syndrome is a genetic neurological disorder characterized by motor and vocal tics. A tic is a sudden, repetitive, and involuntary muscle movement or sound displayed unconsciously.
Tics are very common in teenagers, but lots of people either have them for a limited period of time (less than one year) or for a longer period of time. Tics can exist in mild forms and do not interfere with a person's life. If tics are severe and last more than one year, this condition is called Chronic Tic Disorder, but there are cases when tics are a manifestation of what is called Tourette Syndrome.
More recent studies show that the pattern of inheritance is much more complex and environmental factors may also play an important role.
Signs of Tourette Syndrome become apparent in childhood or teenage years. Males seem to be three to four time more affected by this syndrome than females. Tourette Syndrome is a chronic disorder with symptoms that last over the entire life. Its symptoms are more aggressive in pre-teen to young teen years, become softer in the late teenager years and continue to improve during adult years.
Tourette syndrome is not a common disorder and statistics show that just one in 1,000 or 2,000 people has this disorder. The causes of this syndrome are not known, but scientists consider that the syndrome might by caused by certain problems in the nerve communication process inside the brain: (1) abnormalities in certain brain regions including basal ganglia, frontal lobes, and cortex, (2) impaired circuits that connect these regions and (3) neurotransmitters problems including dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine.
Tourrette's is sometimes mistakenly spelled Turrets Syndrome, or Turretts Syndrome.
Article by Alina Morrow, MS
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