Tourette Syndrome

by Courtney C

    Many people don't know what Tourette Syndrome is.  Tourette Syndrome is a neurological disorder that involves involuntary movements and repetitive vocal sounds.  Tourette Syndrome is very common, and should not be made fun of.

     Tourette Syndrome is named after Georges Gilles de la Tourette, but he was not the person who discovered it.  Dr. Itard reported T.S. in 1825, when having a patient who had repetitive vocal tics. Georges Gilles de la Tourette also described it in 1883.    

Believe it or not, many famous people have Tourette Syndrome. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart had Tourette Syndrome, and being the music geek that I am, I find that really cool! Jim Eisenreich, a retired major league baseball player, also has Tourette Syndrome.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

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How common is it?

    Tourette Syndrome is very common. About 200,000 Americans have severe T.S, and about 1 out of every 100 people have T.S, mild or severe. The earliest symptoms occur between the age 3-9.  Although Tourette Syndrome typically goes away in late teen years or early adulthood, 10-15% of people have it last through their adulthood.  Tourette Syndrome is not contagious. Although the causes are unknown, researchers believe that it may have to do with abnormalities in the brain, or problems with how nerve cells communicate with one another.

Tourette Syndrome is common.

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How does it effect people?

    There are two types of tics: motor tics and vocal tics.  Motor tics are brief repetitive movements. Simple motor tics may include blinking and other exaggerated eye movements, facial expressions, shoulder shrugging, head jerking, fist clenching, etc. Vocal tics are brief repetitive sounds. Simple vocal tics may include throat clearing, grunting, sniffing, humming, etc. There are also complex motor and vocal tics. Complex motor tics may include hopping, jumping, head twist with a shoulder shrug, or in an extreme case, punching, kicking, or self-harm. Complex vocal tics include entire words/phrases, repeating what everybody else is saying, or in an extreme case, cuss words. Keep in mind, the punching, self-harm, repeating, and cussing is not very common, and should not be the stereotype for everybody with Tourette Syndrome. T.S. does not effect a person's IQ.

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How do you treat it?

    Before you can treat Tourette Syndrome, you need to diagnose it.  A person can be diagnosed if they have had repetitive tics for at least a year. Then a doctor looks at the patient's medical history, and the patient may have to take a physical exam. Sometimes blood tests may be necessary to rule out other conditions with symptoms similar to Tourette Syndrome. There are no actual cures to T.S. After being diagnosed, the patient has many options on how to treat it. Although most people don't, they could take medication to help minimize the tics. People can sometimes try to suppress their tics, however, this can lead to a point where the tics absolutely must be expressed.  Tics also become worse when a person is stressed.

HAHA IT'S A PUN!!!!!! :)

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    I chose Tourette Syndrome for my topic because I have it. Yes, I have T.S. and I bet most of you didn't even notice until just now unless I already told you. I also wanted people to know what Tourette Syndrome is and how it effects people, and that people who have T.S. are perfectly normal. Many people stereotype us for people who swear all the time and slap people "uncontrollably", but that really isn't accurate. That only effects a small number of people.

    I was diagnosed when I was about seven or eight, but my mom even noticed some of my  symptoms when I was very young. After being to a doctor and having blood tests (it sucked) they said that I had Tourette Syndrome. My symptoms are fist clenching, shoulder jerking, head jerking, and eye crossing. My T.S. is fairly mild, and it is barely noticeable unless I have previously told you that I have it.

Just a friendly reminder...

    Please do not make fun of people who are different, especially if it is something they cannot control. I was made fun of a little bit in fourth grade and I didn't like it at all. We are all human beings, and we all have differences that should be embraced, not made fun of.


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