Tourette syndrome

Rare neurological disease that causes repetitive motor and vocal tics.

Named for Georges Gilles de la Tourette, who first described it in 1885, it occurs worldwide, is usually inherited, generally begins at ages 2–15, and is three times more common in males. Motor tics occur first in about 80% of cases, compulsions to utter abnormal sounds in the rest. A compulsion to utter obscenities, once thought characteristic, is often absent. Repetition of words heard and spontaneous repetition of one's own words are two distinctive symptoms. Other vocal tics may include meaningless sounds. Motor tics may be virtually unnoticeable; more complex ones may appear intentional (e.g., hopping, clapping). Sleep, intense concentration, and exertion tend to suppress the tics; emotional stress worsens them. Unlike psychiatric compulsive disorders, Tourette syndrome has a neurological origin and may improve with psychogenic drugs. Brain neurotransmitter abnormalities may be involved, but the underlying cause remains uncertain.

* * *

▪ medical disorder
      rare inherited neurological disease characterized by recurrent motor and phonic tics (tic) (involuntary muscle spasms and vocalizations). It is three times more prevalent in males than in females. Although the cause of Tourette syndrome is unknown, evidence suggests that there may be an abnormality of one or more chemical neurotransmitters in the brain.

      It is named for Georges Gilles de la Tourette, who first described the disorder in 1885. The English author Samuel Johnson (Johnson, Samuel) may have suffered from a form of the disease, based on contemporary descriptions of his facial tics and of the strange vocalizations interrupting his normal speech.

      The onset of Tourette syndrome usually occurs between the ages of 2 and 15 and continues into adulthood. Motor tics precede phonic tics in about 80 percent of the cases. Individuals with milder forms of the disorder may exhibit either motor or phonic tics but not both.

      Echolalia (a compulsion to repeat words heard) and palilalia (spontaneous repetition of one's own words) are two distinctive symptoms of Tourette syndrome. Coprolalia (scatologia), the compulsion to utter obscenities, may also be present. Other vocalizations that may occur include grunts, barks, hisses, whistles, and other meaningless sounds. Motor tics may be simple actions that are virtually unnoticeable. More complex tics usually involve the shoulders, head, and face and may include hopping, clapping, blinking, and fist clenching. Sleep, intense concentration, and physical exertion tend to suppress the symptoms, while stress exacerbates them.

      There is no cure for Tourette syndrome; though symptoms may improve with age. Medications are used only when symptoms interfere with functioning; haloperidol is the most commonly prescribed medication for Tourette syndrome, but pimozide, fluphenazine, clonazepam, and clonidine are also effective in reducing the frequency and intensity of tics.

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Tourette syndrome — Infobox Disease Name = Tourette syndrome Caption = Georges Gilles de la Tourette (1859–1904) ICD10 = F95.2 ICD9 = 307.23 ICDO = MedlinePlus = 000733 eMedicineSubj = med eMedicineTopic = 3107 eMedicine mult = eMedicine2|neuro|664 DiseasesDB = 5220 …   Wikipedia

  • Tourette syndrome — A tic disorder characterized by the presence of chronic vocal and motor tics, probably based on differences in or damage to the basal ganglia of the brain. Tourette syndrome usually emerges between the ages of 6 and 18 and is somewhat more common …   Medical dictionary

  • Tourette syndrome — noun A neurological disorder characterized by the presence of physical and vocal tics. Tourette syndrome is a condition characterized by involuntary vocalizations exacerbated by stress. Syn: Tourettes syndrome, Tourettes disorder, Gilles de la… …   Wiktionary

  • Tourette syndrome —  (pref.), Tourette’s syndrome (alt.). Neurological disorder named for the French physician Georges Gilles de la Tourette (1859–1904) …   Bryson’s dictionary for writers and editors

  • Tourette syndrome — noun see Tourette s syndrome …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Tourette syndrome — see Tourette s syndrome …   English dictionary

  • tourette syndrome — noun see tourette s syndrome …   Useful english dictionary

  • Tourette syndrome — /tuˈrɛt sɪndroʊm/ (say tooh ret sindrohm) noun a disorder of the nervous system which manifests itself in involuntary body movements and vocalisations. {named after Georges Giles de la Tourette, 1857–1904, French neurologist} …   Australian English dictionary

  • Tourette Syndrome Association — The Tourette Syndrome Association (TSA), based in Bayside, New York, United States, is a non profit voluntary organization and the only national health related organization serving people with Tourette syndrome. It was founded in 1972 by five… …   Wikipedia

  • Tourette Syndrome Foundation of Canada — The Tourette Syndrome Foundation of Canada (or TSFC) is a Canadian voluntary organization based in Toronto, Ontario. It was formed in 1976, [* Kushner, HI. A cursing brain?: The histories of Tourette syndrome . Harvard University Press, 2000, p.… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.