Tourettes Patient

Causes of Tourette Syndrome

Tourette Syndrome (TS) is a neuropsychiatric tic disorder. TS usually appears in childhood, most commonly around age 6, and is much more common in boys than girls. To be diagnosed with TS, an individual must exhibit at least two motor and one vocal tic over the course of a year. Tics are compulsory, repetitive behaviors. There is no cure for TS, but medication and behavioral therapy may help an individual learn to control tics. In mild cases, treatment may not be necessary. 

The cause of TS is still largely unknown. Research so far suggests that genetics and environment play a large role. In fact, there’s a fifty percent chance a parent with TS will have a child with the same disorder—male parents are much more likely to pass on the gene. Exactly which gene causes the disorder has yet to be discovered. 

However, brain structure and neurotransmitters seem to have a hand in the underlying cause, too. According to the National Institute of Health, the “basal ganglia, frontal lobes, and cortex” in TS patients exhibit some abnormalities, as do the connections between them. Dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin are a part of these connections, so these neurotransmitters likely influence the development of TS, as well. 

Last Updated: September 12, 2016

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