May 15th through June 15th is Tourette Syndrome Awareness
Month. This month's Crier message is concerning Tourette Syndrome a disorder that gets little
attention and is not well understood by the general public.
Tourette (too-RET) Syndrome is a disorder that involves
repetitive movements or unwanted sounds (tics) that can't be easily controlled. For instance, you
might repeatedly blink your eyes, shrug your shoulders or blurt out unusual sounds or offensive words.
Tics typically show up between ages 2 and 15, with the
average being around 6 years of age. Males are about three to four times more likely than females to
develop Tourette syndrome. Although there's no cure for Tourette Syndrome, treatments
are available. 79% of those with Tourette's also have ADD, ADHD, OCD, Anxiety Disorders,
Sensory Processing Disorders, just to
name a few.
Tics, sudden, brief, intermittent movements or sounds are
the hallmark sign of Tourette Syndrome.
They can range from mild to severe. Severe symptoms might
significantly interfere with communication, daily functioning and quality of life.
Tics are classified as:
Simple tics. These sudden, brief and repetitive tics
involve a limited number of muscle groups.
Complex tics. These distinct, coordinated patterns of
movements involve several muscle groups.
Tics also can involve movement (motor tics) or sounds (vocal
tics). Motor tics usually begin before vocal tics do. But the spectrum of tics that people
experience is diverse.
Simple motor tics include symptoms such as eye blinking,
nose twitching and mouth movements.
Complex motor tics include symptoms such as stepping in a
certain pattern, bending or twisting and hopping.
Simple vocal tics include symptoms such as grunting and
coughing. Complex vocals tics include symptoms such as repeating one's own words or phrases and
repeating other people's words or phrases.
The exact cause of Tourette Syndrome isn't known. It's a
complex disorder likely caused by a combination of inherited (genetic) and environmental
factors. Chemicals in the brain that transmit nerve impulses (neurotransmitters), including dopamine and
serotonin, might play a role.
I hope the above information is useful. If you have any
questions about this article or questions about other health related issues, please call Parish Nurse
Cheryl Letendre RN,BSN, CPN.
Source: Mayo Clinic
and Tourette Syndrome Association, Inc