Tourette Syndrome

By: Morgan Salazar

What is Tourette syndrome?

Tourette syndrome is a condition that causes a person to make repeated, quick movements or sounds that they cannot control. These movements or sounds are called tics. Georges Albert Édouard Brutus Gilles de la Tourette was the founder of Tourette syndrome. Tourette described the symptoms of Tourette syndrome in nine patients in 1884, using the name "maladie des tics".

How is the disorder diagnosed?

TS is a diagnosis that doctors make after verifying that the patient has had both motor and vocal tics for at least 1 year. The existence of other neurological or psychiatric conditions can also help doctors arrive at a diagnosis. Evidence from twin and family studies suggests that TS is an inherited disorder. Although early family studies suggested an autosomal dominant mode of inheritance (an autosomal dominant disorder is one in which only one copy of the defective gene, inherited from one parent, is necessary to produce the disorder), more recent studies suggest that the pattern of inheritance is much more complex. Although there may be a few genes with substantial effects, it is also possible that many genes with smaller effects and environmental factors may play a role in the development of TS.

Signs and Symptoms

Tics are classified as either simple or complex. Simple motor tics are sudden, brief, repetitive movements that involve a limited number of muscle groups. Some of the more common simple tics include

-eye blinking and other eye movements

-facial grimacing

-shoulder shrugging,

-head or shoulder jerking.

Simple vocalizations might include:

-repetitive throat-clearing


-grunting sounds.