Tourette’s syndrome (TS) is a neurological disorder exhibiting repetitive, involuntary movements and vocalizations known as tics.

The late French neurologist Dr. Georges Gilles de la Tourette, the namesake for this condition, first described this Tourette’s in 1885. It commonly affects an area of the brain known as the basal ganglia. The basal ganglia acts as a braking mechanism for all movements (speech included) of the body. Individuals with Tourette’s or tics commonly have a problem with the basal ganglia and related circuitry. For example, the cerebellum and frontal lobes act to gate and coordinate activity of the basal ganglia. If they are not working properly, basal ganglia function can go unchecked resulting in unwanted and involuntary movements and vocalizations.

About This Condition

More About Tourette’s Syndrome

The early symptoms of TS typically first arise in childhood. However, average onset is between the ages of 3 and 9 years old. TS occurs in people from all ethnic groups. Although, males are 3 times more likely to develop TS than females. In the U.S. 200,000 Americans have the most severe form of TS. As many as one in 100 exhibit milder and less complex symptoms such as chronic motor or vocal tics. Current medical literature does not know what causes Tourettes and offers no curative treatment. Consequently Tourette’s sufferers are often taking pharma medication.

Genetic Implications

Researchers generally consider Tourette’s syndrome to be a genetic disorder; TS vulnerability is found one generation to the next. Approximately 15% of TS patients do not show genetic susceptibility, meaning no genetic links were found. In addition, individual variations in character, course and degree of severity of TS is not solely the result of a genetic explanations.

Other Potential Causes

Researchers have been focusing on stressful events during prenatal or early life that may trigger the onset of TS. Traumatic head injury during birth, sports injuries or accidents has been implicated as a possible trigger of TS. Evidence supports that trauma, especially to the neck, increases the risk of TS. Following trauma, tics can be triggered immediately or can take months or even years to develop.

How We Can Help

If your child has been diagnosed with Tourette’s syndrome, Colorado Integrative Neurology can help. Our doctors will start with a neurological evaluation to assess the deficiencies in the brain. Based on the results of the examination, we will design a customized neurological rehabilitation plan to help restore and normalize the function of your brain. Any circuitry involved in the problem needs to be addressed with therapies targeted to strengthen the weak pathways and normalize or down regulate the function of overactive areas.

About Us

The team of Functional Neurologists at Integrated Brain Centers are experts in helping patients of all ages suffering from concussion and brain injuries.