syndrome (TS) is a neurological disorder characterized by repetitive,
stereotyped, involuntary movements and vocalizations called tics. The first
symptoms of TS are almost always noticed in childhood. Some of the more
common tics include eye blinking and other vision irregularities, facial
grimacing, shoulder shrugging, and head or shoulder jerking. Perhaps the
most dramatic and disabling tics are those that result in self-harm such as
punching oneself in the face, or vocal tics including coprolalia (uttering
swear words) or echolalia (repeating the words or phrases of others).
Many with TS experience additional neurobehavioral problems including
inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity, and obsessive-compulsive symptoms
such as intrusive thoughts/worries and repetitive behaviors.
Is there any treatment?
tic symptoms do not often cause impairment, the majority of people with TS
require no medication for tic suppression. However, effective medications are
available for those whose symptoms interfere with functioning. There is no one
medication that is helpful to all people with TS, nor does any medication
completely eliminate symptoms. Effective medications are also available
to treat some of the associated neurobehavioral disorders that can occur in
patients with TS.
What is the prognosis?
TS can be a chronic condition with symptoms lasting a lifetime, most people
with the condition experience their worst symptoms in their early teens, with
improvement occurring in the late teens and continuing into adulthood. As
a result, some individuals may actually become symptom free or no longer need
medication for tic suppression.
What research is being done?
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) and other
institutes of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) conduct research in
laboratories at the NIH and also support additional research through grants to
major medical institutions across the country. Knowledge about TS comes
from studies across a number of medical and scientific disciplines, including
genetics, neuroimaging, neuropathology, clinical trials (medication and
non-medication), epidemiology, neurophysiology, neuroimmunology, and
descriptive/diagnostic clinical science. Findings from these studies will
provide clues for more effective therapies.
NINDS health-related material is
provided for information purposes only and does not necessarily represent
endorsement by or an official position of the National Institute of
Neurological Disorders and Stroke or any other Federal agency. Advice on the
treatment or care of an individual patient should be obtained through
consultation with a physician who has examined that patient or is familiar with
that patient's medical history.
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