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Tourette Essay, Research Paper

Tourette Sydrome, commonly called TS, is an inhereted brain disorder. Some

characteristics of TS are uncontrollable body movements known as tics and

uncontrollable vocal noises. All ethnic groups are affected and men are three to four

times more likely to have it than women. Symptoms vary from preson to person and also

vary in how severe they are. Research into causes is ongoing and there is no known

cure. Conditions associated with Tourette’s include obsessive compulsive disorder,

learning diasbilities, attention problems such as ADD or ADHD, and impulsiveness.

About one in two hundred people have Tourette’s.

Tics are the main symptoms of Tourette’s. They can be both verbal and motor.

Some motor tics include facial tics such as bilnking of eyes or lip movements, repeated

throat clearing or sniffing, repeated hand rubbing or washing, arm thrusting, leg kicking,

head twitching, shoulder shruging, or jumping. Verbal tics may include odd noises,

repeating of something that is said, or coprolalia. Coprolalia is a less exhibited tic in

which a person will swear or make racial slurs, neither of which are intended to hurt or

offend anyone, although they often do because they occur at very inopportune times.

Some people can supress their tics for minutes or even hours, but when they stop

supressing them they are a lot more severe.

Research into the causes of Tourette Syndrome is ongoing. So far research has

shown that it is a genetic disease. A few chromosomal locations have been discovered

that appear to carry the genes that caues TS. Parents have fifty percent chance of passing

the gene on to their childern. Girls who possess the gene have a seventy percent chance of

showing symptoms, while boys have a significantly higher chance of ninety nine percent.

Scientists believe that an abnormal metabolism of two nuerotransmitters, dopmaine and

serotonin, are involved in the cause of the disorder.

So far there is no know cure for Tourette Syndrome that works permanently.

There are, however, quite a few effective treatments. Treatments are not always available

to people with Tourette’s because their tics do not inhibit activity in their day to day lives

enough to need medication. The medications are also rather unpredictable as to whether

they will work on a specific person or not. Another problem coupled with medication for

TS is the possibility for potentially harmful and unusual side effects. One such example of

this are medications known as Neuroleptics. They are by far one of the most effective

medication for TS. They do, however, have some possible health hazards involved with

them if they are not regulated in the right manner and stopped soon after symptoms of

problems caused by the medication first occur. Haldol, one of the Neuroleptics which has

the potential for side effects, can cause a permanent condition called Tardive Dyskinesia.

Some of the things inflicted on a person who has Tardive are slight involuntary physical

movements like hand rubbing or lip movements. People who are considering taking a

drug such as these should consider whether the benefit of taking them outweighs their

potential dangers. Some other drugs that work on the obsessive part of TS, like repetive

tics, are Prozac, Zoloft, or Paxil. Other more natural cures that have been shown to be

effective are biofeedback, meditation, and relaxation in general.

Members of the Tourette Syndrome Assoiation are the main conductors of studies

regarding TS. Currently a study is being conducted that is uncovering chromosomal

locations that have so far been shown to carry the genes that cause TS. The study is being

done on two hundred families that have one or more siblings with TS. The object of the

study is to narrow the chromosomal reigons that are currently suspected of carrying the

TS causing genes. After narrowing the reigons the identification of the gene or genes

causing symptoms of TS will be hastened. When the genetic abnormalities are identified

better treatments and medication for everyone who has TS will follow.

In America about one in two hundred people have Tourette Syndrome. It is a

neurological disorder that is inhereted. TS is thought to be linked with obsessive

compulsive disorder, certain learning disabilities, ADD and other attention problems, and

impulsiveness. Symptoms include involuntary movements of limbs or twitches in other

parts of the body which are called tics and also include involuntary vocal noises.

Severity of symptoms varies from person to person with most people not having very

severe symptoms. It does not discriminate by ethnicity but does affect men three to four

times more often than women. Studies into what causes TS and the best way to cure it

are ongoing.


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