Tourette Syndrome - Medical Malpractice LawyersLEGAL HELPLINE: ☎ 855 804 7125
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Tourette Syndrome - Medical Malpractice
Tourette syndrome is also called Tourette's syndrome and is a disease in which you suffer from many tics that interfere with your daily life. These are tics over which you might not have any control and may be simple, such as blinking, or complex, such as complex behaviors or vocalizations. The blurting of obscenities is not uncommon. Tourette syndrome usually begins when a person is a child, most often occurring between the ages of 7 and 10. It is more common in boys at a ratio of 4:1 when compared to females.
There is no cure for Tourette syndrome but it does not shorten the lifespan. Many people suffer from the disease without having any kind of treatment but for those who want treatment, treatment is available. Fortunately, Tourette syndrome is often outgrown in adolescence.
The symptoms of Tourette syndrome include tics, which are brief and of sudden onset. The symptoms can involve just a certain muscle group or limb and be simple in origin. Complex tics involve multiple muscle groups. There are motor tics and facial tics. Motor tics include head jerking, eye blinking, shoulder shrugging, sticking the tongue out, eye darting, finger flexing, touching the face, touching other people, hopping, flapping the arms, obscene gestures or smelling objects. Vocal tics include hiccups, clearing of the throat, yelling, barking, repeating words and phrases, expletives and vocalizations in tonal form.
Tics tend to get worse during stressful times, especially when you are anxious, fatigue, excitement or illness. They can include tics occurring in your sleep. There is an urge to have the tic that is only relieved by doing the tic. Sometimes the tic can be delayed until there is a proper time for it. Tics can change over time and can go from simple to complex tics and back again.
The cause of Tourette syndrome is unknown. It cannot be prevented. It may have some hereditary origin and certain genes included in having Tourette syndrome have been defined. More genes are being looked into as causes of Tourette syndrome. There may be abnormalities in the brain's neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and serotonin, which play a role in who gets Tourette syndrome and who does not.
There are few complications of having Tourette syndrome and it does not shorten the lifespan. It does affect, however, the ability to learn and the ability to make friends and be social. It can increase the risk of other conditions, including learning disabilities, OCD, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), sleeping disorders, anxiety disorders and depression.
There are no tests for Tourette syndrome but a thorough history and physical examination by a qualified doctor or psychiatrist can identify those who have the disease. Neurologists also treat Tourette syndrome. There are certain criteria to be met to have Tourette syndrome, which are outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Diseases or DSM.
These diagnostic criteria include the following: motor ticks and vocal tics present (one or the other or both), tics occur nearly every day for more than a year, the onset of tics before the age of 18, the absence of any medication that causes tics. Doctors and families may be reluctant to diagnose Tourette syndrome because of the stigma attached to it. The symptoms can be due to other diseases as well and this must be flushed out by looking at the criteria and the history of the disease. The doctor may do an MRI of the brain to make sure there are no other problems causing the symptoms that can be seen on brain scanning.
Various medications can be used to block the symptoms. Not all work completely. There can be drugs that deplete dopamine in the brain, particularly fluphenazine and pimozide. Botulinum injections may be used for vocal or simple tics. Stimulant medications as used in ADHD can block some of the symptoms. Deep brain stimulation can be used when symptoms are severe and no other treatment or medication seems to help.LEGAL HELPLINE: ☎ 855 804 7125
The author of the substantive medical writing on this website is Dr. Christine Traxler MD whose biography can be read here