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This syndrome is named after the French physician Georges de la Tourette, who described the symptoms among nine of his patients in 1884. While Tourette’s was once considered a rare disorder, newer studies estimate that one in every 162 children in the U.S. alone has it and that it’s more prevalent among boys. It’s important to note that most diagnosed patients link Tourette’s to other developmental, behavioral, or mental disorders.
The basic signs of Tourette’s are involuntary and repetitive sounds and body movements which, as stated earlier, are called tics. However, not all tics are necessarily Tourette’s, the differences often based on the duration of the tics. To be clear, Tourette’s consist of both motor and phonic tics, assessed to have been occurring for over a year. Another tic disorder is transient tic, which is considered benign and does not last for over 12 months. Chronic tic refers to either a single or multiple motor or vocal tic but not both.
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Neurologists have yet to learn what causes Tourette Syndrome exactly, but both genetic and environmental factors are seen to play a vital role in its development. Some experts posit that because it’s believed to be hereditary, those with family members that have it are more likely to get Tourette’s. However, it has also been diagnosed in people with no family history of tics. Neurological studies continue to be done to identify gene variations that enhance developmental risks related to the disorder, Dr. Curtis Cripe adds.
Dr. Curtis Cripeis the head of research and development at the NTL Group, which specializes in the creation of neuroengineering programs which aid in the diagnosis and treatment of numerous neurological disorders. Go to this page for more neurology-related reads.