Tourette's Syndrome

By Jackson Bemis

What is Tourette's Syndrome?

Tourette’s Syndrome (TS) is a brain disorder which causes people to make uncontrollable, sudden movements.

Affects The Brain

The brain works normally by controlling your entire body, even when you’re asleep. The right side of your brain controls the left side of your body and the left side of your brain controls the right side of your body. When you have TS abnormalities occur in neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin which control communication with nerve cells.

Target Population

  • Tourette’s is more common in males than females and affects four to five people out of 10,000

  • TS starts as a child and lessens as you get older.

  • TS is twice as common in whites than blacks or hispanic.


TS is usually a hereditary condition. Another way is if you have another condition like ADHD or depression. It is rare to have TS alone.


TS is diagnosed based on your previous symptoms. These are some things that doctors base their diagnosis on:

  • Tics must start before 18

  • Tics happen multiple times a day, or sometimes everyday, for at least a year.

  • Tics aren't caused by medication

Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms: Simple tics

Motor tics (movement)

  • Head jerks

  • Eye blinks

  • Shoulder shrugs

  • Eye darts

  • Nose twitching

Vocal tics (sounds)

  • Grunting

  • Barking

  • Throat clearing

  • Coughing

  • Symptoms: Complex tics

    Motor tics

    • Touching/smelling things

    • Repeating movements

    • Stepping in a certain pattern

    • Obscene gestures

    • Hopping

    Vocal tics

    • Cursing

    • Repeating words

    • Repeating other’s words


There is no cure for TS but there is treatment. Fluphenazine lessens dopamine in the brain which helps with tics. People with TS have a normal life expectancy.


I don’t know anyone with TS. But American goalkeeper Tim Howard has TS. I selected this condition because I read Tim Howard's biography and I wanted to know more about TS.

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