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Tics Vary, Come And Go

Tourette's Syndrome is a neurological disorder characterised by tics - involuntary' rapid, sudden movements or noises that occur repeatedly in the same way. The symptoms include involuntary motor tics such as eye blinking, head jerking, shoulder shrugging and facial grimacing. More complex motor tics include jumping up and dower, jerking a leg or arm and reaching out to touch someone.

They can also be involuntary vocal tics such as throat clearing, yelping, barking and other noises, sniffing and tongue clicking Both multiple motor and one or more vocal tics may be present at sometime during the illness although not necessarily simultaneously. Tics can occur many times nearly every day or intermittently with periodic changes in the number, frequency, type and location of the tics and they wax and wane in their severity.

Tourette's patients are unable to control their movements and if they try to suppress them for a period of time, the tics come back more strongly than before. Tics tend to occur in bouts and can increase in frequency or intensity as a result of stress, and decrease when the person is relaxed or intensity as a result of stress, and decrease when the person is relaxed or focused on an absorbing task.

Research has focused on streptococcal infections in childhood and the onset of Tourette's. The onset is typically in childhood around six to seven years of age, In some cases, the symptoms disappear by the time the person is 18. However, it is three times more likely to affect men than women. Tourette's syndrome can vary in intensity from mild to severe. While mild symptoms need no treatment, severe cases may be treated with medication. Other types of therapy such as counselling or psychotherapy might be useful in helping the patient and his family cope.


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