Tourette syndrome (TS) is a neurological disorder which becomes evident in early childhood or adolescence. The first symptoms usually are involuntary movements (tics) of the face, arms, limbs or trunk. These tics are frequent, repetitive and rapid. The most common first symptom is a facial tic (eye blink, nose twitch, grimace). The exact cause of Tourette's is unknown. Genetic studies suggest that some forms of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) are genetically related to TS. It is observed in 0.1-3.0% of the population. In most cases, tic disorders start at age 2-15 years, but frequently they are diagnosed late. Males are affected 3 to 4 times more often than females.
TS has no standard therapy. Most cases of TS are mild, and do not require pharmacological treatment. Psychobehavioral therapy, patient education may be sufficient. The alpha2-adrenergic agonists (clonidine) may be effective at treating underlying ADHD symptoms, although CNS stimulants and atypical neuroleptics can be used concurrently. Research into genetics, brain imaging, behavioral science, neuroscience and neuropathology is helping scientists to make progress towards understanding the basis of TS.