25 Interesting Facts About Tourette’s Syndrome

Here Are the Top 25 Interesting Facts About Tourette’s Syndrome (TS):

#1 It is a neurological disorder that is characterized by tics – sudden, recurrent, rapid,  nonrhythmic motor movement or vocalization.

#2 Those diagnosed with the syndrome can expect to have a normal life expectancy.

#3 In 1825, the initial description was by Dr. Jean Itard, who described the case of the cursing Marquise de Dampierre. In 1885, Georges Albert Edouard Brutus Gilles de la Tourette, a neuropsychiatrist, wrote a detailed account of a few patients with tics.


#4 It is more common in males than in females. The ratio of girls vs. boys being diagnosed with this syndrome is 1:4.

#5 TS occurs in all populations and ethnic groups worldwide. But, non-Hispanic white children are twice as likely to have the syndrome as non-Hispanic and Hispanic black children. Also, it is more common in Ashkenazi Jews and people of Mediterranean origin.

#6 In the United States, TS affects about 1 to 10 in 1,000 children. In the present day, approximately 100,000 Americans exhibit milder and fewer complex symptoms like – chronic vocal or motor tics or transient tics of childhood, and 200,000 have the most severe form of TS.

#7 Less than 40% of the affected people have coprolalia (outbursts of swearing).


#8 Suferrers tend to manifest the same set of tics at any given time, however, tics tend to vary in intensity, type, and frequency over a period of time.

#9 First symptoms of the syndrome are usually observed first in childhood, with the average onset between the ages of 4 and 8 years.

#10 By late adolescence, less than 25 percent of patients have persistently moderate to severe tics, less than 50 percent have minimal to mild tics, and over 33 percent are virtually tic-free.

Types of Tics

#11 Complex tics are coordinated patterns of movements involving a few muscle groups. They include:

  • echolalia (repeating the words or phrases of others);
  • coprolalia (uttering swear words);
  • punching oneself in the face;
  • barking;
  • bending;
  • jumping;
  • hopping;
  • touching objects;
  • facial grimacing combined with a shoulder shrug.

#12 Some tics are preceded by a premonitory urge. This urge may be the driving force for the tic to occur and is completely involuntary.

#13 Simple tics are sudden, brief, repetitive movements that involve:

  • grunting sounds;
  • sniffing;
  • repetitive throat-clearing;
  • head or shoulder jerking;
  • shoulder-shrugging;
  • facial grimacing;
  • eye blinking.


#14 It is common for patients with TS to have other disorders, including:

  • substance abuse;
  • sleeping problems, especially having trouble falling or staying asleep;
  • bipolar disorder;
  • social functioning problems, like acting in an inappropriate manner;
  • depression;
  • learning disorders especially processing information;
  • anxiety – feeling fearful and experiencing separation anxiety;
  • separation anxiety disorder;
  • behavioral problems, like aggression, rage, expressing oppositional defiance, and committing socially inappropriate acts;
  • obsessive-compulsive disorder;
  • attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

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#15 Most studies agree that symptoms of TS involve the neurotransmitters (serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine), which help transmit information from one nerve cell in the brain to another.

#16 Current research also indicates that abnormalities in certain brain regions (including the frontal lobes, basal ganglia, and cortex) can cause the syndrome. According to Yale researchers, a cause of the tics is a genetic mutation that disrupts the production of histamine in the brain.

#17 A gene on Chromosome 13, which is linked with some forms of TS has been recently identified by researchers at Yale University Medical School. In addition, TS can be triggered by some infectious diseases, like Lyme disease.

Risk Factors

#18 Risk factors include:

  • kids with a family history of the syndrome are more likely to develop TS;
  • 4 times more boys are diagnosed with TS than girls.

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#19 TS is diagnosed when:

  • the tics are not caused by a substance, another illness, or a medication;
  • symptoms began before age 18;
  • tics occur most days for at least 12 months;
  • the sufferer has one or more vocal tics and multiple motor tics.

#20 Although there is no test that can tell whether an individual has the syndrome, some tests can help rule out other health problems that may have similar symptoms. These tests include:

  • blood tests;
  • EEG (electroencephalogram);
  • CT (computed tomography);
  • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging).

#21 Milder forms of TS can be misdiagnosed, as it commonly occurs at the same time as:


#22 There is no cure for TS, but treatment can relieve many of its symptoms. Treatment options for the syndrome can include:

  • behavioral therapies (like – habit reversal therapy – it is a behavioral approach that uses awareness training);
  • relaxation techniques (like mindfulness meditation);
  • medications like alpha2-adrenergic agonists are commonly recommended as the medication of choice to treat mild symptoms of TS;
  • antidepressants might help control symptoms of anxiety and sadness. Antidepressants include – Sarafem or Prozac.

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#23 There is no cure for the syndrome, but, the condition in many individuals improves as they mature. Also, patients with the syndrome can expect to live a normal lifespan. Interestingly, as per a 2014 study that was issued in the British Journal of Neuropsychology, affected kids with TS may unconsciously train their brain to control their tics better.

#24 Patients who have other symptoms, like attention deficit disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and self-injurious behavior, typically have a poorer prognosis.


#25 TS cannot be prevented, however, early treatment can prevent many of the life problems that are caused by the illness as well as it can reduce the severity of the tics.

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