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What is Tourette Syndrome?
Tourette Syndrome (TS) is an inherited, neurological disorder characterized by multiple involuntary movements, called motor tics, and uncontrollable vocalizations called vocal or phonic tics. A tic is a sudden rapid, recurrent, non-rhythmic, stereotyped motor movement or vocalization. 1

Diagnostic criteria for Tourette Syndrome (DSM-IV TR) 2
• Both motor and vocaltics are present during the illness, although not always at the same time.
• The tics occur many times a day (usually in bouts) nearly every day or off and on for more than 1 year, with never a tic-free period of more than 3 months in a row.
• The onset of TS occurs before 18 years of age.
• The disturbance is not caused by the direct physiological effects of medications or othersubstances, and is not the result of a general medical condition (e.g., seizures, Huntington’s disease or postviral encephalitis).
• In rare cases, people with TS may involuntarily shout obscenities (coprolalia) or constantly repeat the words of other people (echolalia).
TS can affect people of all racial and ethnic groups; males are affected 3 to 4 times more often than females. An estimated 100,000Americans have TS, and perhaps as many as 1 in 200 people show a milder form of the disorder, such as chronic or transient tics in childhood. 1
Although further research into the prevalence of TS will provide better data on rates in the United States, it is believed that TS affects 3 to 5 in every 10,000 individuals, and about 10 in every 10,000 school-age children.
The onset of TS and ticstypically occurs when a child is 6 to 8 years old, with diagnosis usually occurring around this time as well. Although TS and tics might appear, disappear, and reappear, these disorders are considered chronic.
TS and related disorders can place individuals at higher risk for learning, behavioral, and social difficulties. Many studies have linked TS and tic disorders to higher rates of AttentionDeficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and impairments associated with these co-morbid conditions.
1. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke Tourette Syndrome Fact Sheet
2. American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision. Washington, DC, American Psychiatric Association:2000.
Tourette Syndrome Fact Sheet
Table of Contents (click to jump to sections)
What is Tourette syndrome?
What are the symptoms?
What is the course of TS?
Can people with TS control their tics?
What causes TS?
What disorders are associated with TS?
How is TS diagnosed?
How is TS treated?
Is TS inherited?
What is the prognosis?
What is the best educational setting for children with TS?What research is being done?
Where can I get more information?
What is Tourette syndrome?

Tourette syndrome (TS) is a neurological disorder characterized by repetitive, stereotyped, involuntary movements and vocalizations called tics. The disorder is named for Dr. Georges Gilles de la Tourette, the pioneering French neurologist who in 1885 first described the condition in an 86-year-oldFrench noblewoman.
The early symptoms of TS are almost always noticed first in childhood, with the average onset between the ages of 7 and 10 years. TS occurs in people from all ethnic groups; males are affected about three to four times more often than females. It is estimated that 200,000 Americans have the most severe form of TS, and as many as one in 100 exhibit milder and less complex symptomssuch as chronic motor or vocal tics or transient tics of childhood. Although TS can be a chronic condition with symptoms lasting a lifetime, most people with the condition experience their worst symptoms in their early teens, with improvement occurring in the late teens and continuing into adulthood.
What are the symptoms?

Tics are classified as either simple or complex. Simple motor...