Pediatric Tourette Syndrome
Tourette syndrome is a neurological disorder that is marked by repetitive, involuntary muscle movements and sounds (tics).
Tourette syndrome causes involuntary tics that can be triggered during periods of anxiety, excitement or physical stress. Tics may vary in frequency, location and severity over the years.
Tourette syndrome is typically diagnosed between the ages of 3 to 9 years and the symptoms last a lifetime. Males are impacted approximately three to four times more than females. To be diagnosed with Tourette syndrome, a person must have a history of at least two motor tics (movements) and one vocal tic for more than a year. Typically, motor tics develop before vocal tics.
The cause of Tourette syndrome is unknown. Research suggests it’s due to abnormal connections between the neurotransmitters and certain regions of the brain like the basal ganglia (includes the cerebral cortex, thalamus and brainstem), frontal lobes or cortex.
Symptoms of Tourette syndrome will typically be worse in the early teen years and include the following:
- Shouted, repetitive phrases
- Facial grimace with head twist and shoulder shrug
- Head bobbing
- Hopping while bending
- Repetitive throat-clearing or grunting
- Shoulder shrugging
- Uncontrolled blinking