- 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 disorderrare 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.
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