Tourette syndrome (TS) is a neuropsychiatric disorder characterized by motor and phonic (vocal) tics observed in children. It is often associated with behavior disorders, particularly obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The precise cause of TS is unknown, but many studies suggest that TS is an inherited developmental condition. Symptoms can be seen in early childhood but most children with TS display readily identifiable symptoms at around age of 7 years. The lifetime prevalence of TS in Switzerland is about 0.6%. 1 in every 100 children is likely to be affected. It is 4-5 times more common in boys than in girls.
Although there's no cure, many people with Tourette syndrome don't need treatment when symptoms aren't troublesome. Symptoms of Tourette syndrome often lessen or become quiet and controlled after the teen years. Psychotherapy, Behavioral Therapy and Deep Brain Stimulation are sufficient for mild symptoms. The alpha2-adrenergic agonists (clonidine) may be effective at treating underlying ADHD symptoms, although CNS stimulants and atypical neuroleptics can be used concurrently. Many investigators are conducting a variety of large-scale genetic studies and finding a gene or genes for TS would be a major step toward understanding genetic risk factors. This would help in developing safer drugs for TS with fewer side effects.