Tourette Syndrome

Genetic diseases are diseases passed down through heredity and genes. Tourette Syndrome is one of the more common genetic diseases. Although it is made fun of in television and movies, Tourette Syndrome is a very serious disorder.

Tourette Syndrome, or TS, is an inherited, neurological disorder characterized by repeated involuntary body movement (tics) and uncontrollable vocal sounds. The cause of TS has not yet been established completely; however scientists do know it’s inher
ed as a dominant gene or genes. Scientists also know that it stems from an abnormal metabolism of atleast one brain chemical (neurotransmitter) called dopamine. TS causes different symptoms in different family members. A person with TS has a 50% chan
of passing the gene to each child with each pregnancy. The sex of the child helps to determine the expression of the gene. There is a 3-4 times more chance of a son having the gene than a daughter. Only about 10% of TS patients get severe enough to
quire medical attention. Some cases aren’t inherited and are called sporadic TS. There are no absolute figures that exist as far as the number of people in the world suffering from Tourette’s because many people living with Tourette’s have yet to be d
gnosed. The official estimate of Americans suffering from TS is about 100,000 people.

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TS was first seen in 1825 in the Marquise de Dampierre, a noblewoman, whose symptoms included involuntary tics of many parts of her body and coprolalia(vocal outbursts). Georges Gilles de la Tourette is the French neurologist who discovered and named
e disorder in the early 1800’s. In 1992, the British Medical Journal published an article by Benjamin Simkin speculating that Mozart had Tourette Syndrome. An Associated Press story about those articles was picked up by newspapers all around the world
ausing an international sensation. The article was later retracted, but there’s still speculation about Mozart actually having Tourette’s. He was reported as having frequent mood swings, tics, sudden impulses and a love of nonsense words. He was also
bserved spinning, leaping, fidgeting and performing strange motor movements. Doctors will never no for sure if Mozart really did have TS.

Many symptoms exist with Tourette Syndrome patients. They include involuntary body movements called tics. These consist of but are not limited to eye blinking, arm thrusting, kicking movements, shoulder shrugging, and jumping. Some other symptoms of
S are Coprolalia. Coprolalia is defined as uncontrollable vocal sounds. Some include socially inappropriate words and phrases, repeated throat clearing, sniffing, and screaming. However, even though it is portrayed in movies as being common, coprolal
with obscene language is not very common. The fact is that cursing, uttering obscenities, and ethnic slurs are manifested by fewer than 15% of people with TS. The media seize upon this symptom for its sensational effect. The most common first sympto
of TS is a facial tic such as rapidly blinking eyes or twitches of the mouth. Many people with Tourette’s have many additional problems related to the disorder. These include obsessions, compulsive and ritualistic behaviors, ADD, learning disabilities
difficulties with impulse control and sleep disorders. These symptoms are should only be a concern if they occur often.

It is important to get help if experiencing the symptoms of Tourette Syndrome. Tourette’s, although not curable, can usually be controlled. It is especially important to get help for those whose symptoms are seen by some people as bizarre, disruptiv
and frightening. Sometimes the symptoms of TS provoke ridicule and rejection from peers, teachers, and strangers. The person could be threatened, excluded from normal activities, and prevented from forming relationships. This could cause great psych
ogical harm. The majority of people with TS are not significantly disabled by their tics or other symptoms, and therefore do not require medication. In more serious cases, it is possible to control many of the symptoms with medication. Some symptoms
the medication include weight gain, muscular rigidity, fatigue, motor restlessness, and social withdrawal, most of which can be reduced with other medications. There are also alternatives to medication. Psychotherapy can assist a person with TS and h
p his/her family cope. Behavioral therapies can teach the substitution of one tic for another that is more acceptable. The use of relaxation techniques or biofeedback can alleviate stress reactions that cause


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