How You Can Help

Across the United States, there are many different organizations that plan to donate money towards cures and treatments for Tourette’s Syndrome.  The National Tourette Syndrome Association (TSA) is one of the many foundations that is open to children, teens and adults that have Tourette Syndrome, as well as parents who are new to the disorder.

A very popular foundation that is also a research center at UC Davis is the Mind Institute.  The Mind Institute focuses on Tourette’s Syndrome, as well as other disorders such as epilepsy, autism, Down Syndrome, and Cerebral Palsy. The Mind Institute committee tells up that, “The UC Davis MIND Institute is unique in its vision and multidisciplinary research approach. We are committed to finding the causes, developing improved treatments and preventing the onset of neurodevelopmental disorders”.  Providing grants and gifts can help push their research to the next level, as with the money new equipment becomes available.

MIND_Institute

The MIND Institute is also a great place to learn about neurological disorders.  Monthly lectures as held to both community members and specialists, and are mainly aimed to give the community a better perspective on these disorders.  There is also a two-year postdoctoral training program that is used to prepare Ph.D. and M.D. medical professionals that want to have a career in autism. The program directors Sally Rogers and David Amaral say, “This two-year training program merges the behavioral and biological sciences in the context of an interdisciplinary, autism-focused research program”.

There are also many events planned every month, such as Think Transition Workshops, Summer Institutes, and even Sibling Workshops.

There are three major centers of the UC Davis Mind Institute: The Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center, the Center for Children’s Environmental Health, and the Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities.  The main goal for the Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center is “to support interdisciplinary translational research on autism, fragile X syndrome, Down syndrome, and other neurodevelopmental disorders at UC Davis” (IDDRC).

The Center for Children’s Environmental Health is focused on the fact that autism may be somewhat caused by bad environmental exposure. “The UC Davis Center for Children’s Environmental Health and Disease Prevention (CCEH) brings together a team of multidisciplinary researchers, working in partnership with the community to identify and understand the environmental, immunologic, and genetic risks contributing to the incidence and severity of childhood autism so that targeted interventions can be developed to improve outcomes for at-risk children and their families” (UC Davis Mind Institute).

Finally, the Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities has the idea that the scientists should collaborate with families dealing with these disorders in order to better their understanding of what they are dealing with.

Works Cited
“UC Davis MIND Institute.” UC Davis MIND Institute. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 May 2015.
Advertisements

What are the Causes of Tourette Syndrome?

Many years ago, people who had Tourette Syndrome were known as psychopaths and would be locked down in hospitals all over America. However, in today’s day and age, there are many scientists working on research for Tourette Syndrome and other diseases like it, hoping to find a cure. Science corporations such as the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), a part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and even smaller departments have been researching these disorders. According to them, Tourette Syndrome is linked to different places all over the brain, one of those being the basal ganglia. The basal ganglia is a small area of the brain that helps control body movement and maintains order among the nerves, and researchers believe that an imbalance in the chemicals that carry messages to and from the basal ganglia is the source of Tourette Syndrome.

basal-ganglia-caudate-nucleus-and-putamen-and-thalamus-and-tail-of-caudate-nucleus

It is said that “first-degree relatives of persons with Tourette’s syndrome more frequently have tics and obsessive compulsive disorders or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) than the general population”(Tourette’s Syndrome Causes). Other studies also show that identical twins have a five time greater chance of both getting Tourette’s Syndrome than nonidentical twins. Even though a specific gene hasn’t been found to be associated directly with the disorder, this somewhat proves that the gene for Tourette’s “non-sex linked” gene, which can reside on both the X and Y chromosomes. Tourette’s Syndrome is also more common in males, in a five to one ratio.

Another study shows that some autoimmune disorders under the influence of streptococcal infections can damage the basal ganglia in the same way that Tourette’s does, altering the neurotransmitters and giving the body symptoms of Tourette’s. This separate disorder that mirrors the symptoms of TS is called Sydenham chorea.

There is no known prevention of Tourette’s Syndrome, however, there are many ways to keep it from getting worse. After the diagnosis, most doctors recommend that a parent should notify those who are closest to the patient daily to prevent emotional issues.

Works Cited
“Tourette Syndrome.” Causes. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 Mar. 2015.
“Tourette’s Syndrome Causes, Symptoms, Treatment – Surgery for Tourette’s Syndrome – EMedicineHealth.” EMedicineHealth. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 Mar. 2015.

Tourette’s Medications and Side Effects

Tourette’s is something that, unlike many other disorders, can be maintained with either medical or mental therapy. There are both pros and cons to both sides of the spectrum, however finding a correct balance between the two of them can prove very helpful.

Before supplying the patient with any type of medicine for their symptoms, the doctor must try to diagnose the patient with the possible conditions that they might have. Below is the diagnosis procedure that generally occurs when diagnosing children or young adults with the common disorders linked with Tourette’s Syndrome:

1205pp4

After the complex process of diagnosis is complete, there is a long process of finding the proper medications that can take from years to decades of trial and error. Finding the correct combination of medications can take a very long time to perfect, as every case is different because our bodies react to the medications in very different ways.

Some may argue that Tourette’s doesn’t need to be treated and that “Tics should not be treated just because they are noticed” (Tics, Tourette’s Syndrome, and Medications) As most tics are not painful, there is no need to dull the patients senses and causing harmful side effects by supplying them with unneeded medicine.

TS_Venn01

However, in most cases of Tourette’s Syndrome there are other things complimenting it. ADHD, ADD, OCD, and Anxiety Disorder (and others) are why most children are on heavy doses of medication. Having more and more disorders can be very difficult when trying to supplement each of them with appropriate medications, as a lot of them don’t work together well.

The staff at Mayo Clinic say that “No medication is helpful to everyone with Tourette’s syndrome, none completely eliminates symptoms, and they all have side effects to be weighed against the benefits.”

There are five main categories of medications for those dealing with multiple disorders from the Tourette’s Spectrum: drugs that block or deplete the neurotransmitter dopamine in the brain, Botulinum toxin type A (Botox) injections, Stimulant medications, Central adrenergic inhibitors, and Antidepressants. These different forms of treatment can have both serious and minor side effects, including: weight gain, a dulling of the mind, sleepiness, insomnia, severe anxiety and others.

For most people, the side effects of medications can be overwhelming and intimidating, but there are some alternatives. Psychotherapy is a very valid option because it “can help with accompanying problems, such as ADHD, obsessions, depression or anxiety.” (Tourette Syndrome) Other ways include behavior therapy and Deep Brain Stimulation, which is only used for severe tics. During the DBS surgery, the doctor “uses a surgically implanted, battery-operated medical device called a neurostimulator—similar to a heart pacemaker and approximately the size of a stopwatch—to deliver electrical stimulation to targeted areas in the brain that control movement, blocking the abnormal nerve signals that cause tremor and PD symptoms.” (Deep Brain Stimulation)

Both ways of treating Tourette’s Syndrome and the similar disorders are viable, but must be done very careful and may take a long time to take effect. Doctors always advise a patient to do research on their disorder(s), because you want to always know what the best option is for you.

Works Cited
“Deep Brain Stimulation.” National Parkinson Foundation –. Ed. Nina Browner. National Parkinson Foundation, n.d. Web. 25 Feb. 2015.
“Health Topics.” Tics, Tourette Syndrome and Medications. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Feb. 2015.
“Tourette Syndrome.” Treatments and Drugs. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Feb. 2015

 

 

Tourette’s Plus

Tourette’s is bad as it is, however most cases of the disorder link together with other psychological diseases. This is called Tourette’s Plus, and it associates with ADHD, ADD, OCD, anxiety and mood disorders, rage attacks, sensory defensiveness, sleep disorders, autism, and P.A.N.D.A.S ( Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal). 
 jdbp-web-graphic-combined-chart-600px
 
This graph compares the percentage of people who have other mental disorders and if they have Tourette’s or not. The data says that someone who has Tourette’s Syndrome have a significantly larger chance of getting other mental disorders such as the ones listed above. ADHD is the most common to get with Tourette’s, as only 14% of people have ADHD don’t have any other mental disorders and about 63% of people have ADHD with Tourette’s. 
 new-ASD
To start off, the Autism Spectrum ranges from nonverbal learning, to Asperger’s Disorder. Asperger’s was recognized as a part of the Autism Spectrum in 1994 and from then on became a common mental diagnosis. Unlike Autism, children with Asperger’s have above-average intelligence and take a part on early development, however, they are socially inept (Packer “Overview of Asperger’s Disorder”). Even though children and adults with Asperger’s Disorder are smart, they have nonverbal communication problems, which makes drawing conclusions and/or making inferences in school very hard. 
 dreamstime_4649675-150x150
 
“Anxiety disorders affect about 40 million American adults age 18 years and older…causing them to be filled with fearfulness and uncertainty” (NIMH “Anxiety Disorders”). Anxiety disorders can last from six months to a life time, and are lead on by traumatizing events(post traumatic stress disorder), events that are soon to come (anticipatory anxiety), or even social events (Social Phobia). 
Anxiety mental health symbol isolated on white. Mental disorder icon design

These are just a few of the disorders that affect children and adults with Tourette’s Syndrome, and make it a lot harder to deal with. Tourette’s is a very diverse disease, save that a lot of the diseases that come with it make it even more so. The graphs just show the complete control that Tourette’s has over even the vaguest disorders, such as asthma or bad eye sight, and the more common mental disorders such as autism and ADHD.

Works Cited
“Blog About Tourette Syndrome – Tourette’s Disorder.” Blog About Tourette Syndrome – Tourette’s Disorder. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Dec. 2014.
“Tourette Syndrome “Plus” – Leslie E. Packer, PhD.” Tourette Syndrome Plus Leslie E Packer PhD RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Dec. 2014.
“TS+, the Tourette Syndrome “Plus” Blog – Leslie E. Packer, Ph.D.” TS+ The Tourette Syndrome Plus Blog RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Dec. 2014.

What is Tourette’s and What are its Symptoms?

“Tourette syndrome (TS) is a neurological disorder characterized by repetitive, stereotyped, involuntary movements and vocalizations called tics,” (Tourette Syndrome Fact Sheet 1). As said before, some of the main symptoms of Tourette’s Syndrome are the various types of tics (Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD 2). Various tics may include blinking, shoulder-jerking, shouting, sniffing, and even harmful tics such as punching and kicking. All of these tics get progressively worse as the victim goes into their teens, as puberty combats with their lack of control over their body. Tics may also get worse when the victim is under stress, as their lack of realization of what they are doing draws thin. Tics are suppressible, however, they start to build up inside of you and eventually have to release into something huge.

Tourette’s Syndrome is a genetic disorder, which means that if one of your parents has the TS gene, then they have a chance of passing it down to you. Boys get Tourette’s syndrome three to four more times than girls, and the effects of Tourette’s Syndrome seem to emerge at around the ages of 10-12 (I Have Tourette’s, but Tourette’s Doesn’t Have Me Youtube.com). There is no exact cause of Tourette’s Syndrome, as there is also no clear way to prevent it. Not only genetics play a role in the emergence of Tourette Syndrome. Brain abnormalities play a role in getting TS: certain chemicals in the brain known as neurotransmitters, including dopamine and serotonin (Tourette’s Syndrome: Causes 1).

To be diagnosed with Tourette’s Syndrome, the patient must have had motor or vocal tics for over a year. “There are no blood, laboratory, or imaging tests needed for diagnosis” (Tourette’s Syndrome Fact Sheet 9). However, magnetic resonance imaging, computerized tomography, and electroencephalogram tests may be needed for a more in-depth diagnosis.

The most common way to treat Tourette’s Syndrome is by medical supplements, however most patients have no need for them, as their tics do not impair their process of making it through life. “Unfortunately, there is no one medication that is helpful to all people with TS, nor does any medication completely eliminate symptoms.  In addition, all medications have side effects” (Tourette’s Syndrome Fact Sheet 11). Some of the side effects include: sluggishness, weight gain, dullness in personality and attitude, parkinsonian-like symptoms, and tremors. These neuroleptic side effects can be maintained by initiating the increments in which you take the medication slower than usual and by reducing the dosage when the side effect are noticeable. If you want to discontinue a medication, then you must slowly lower the dosage to prevent tic increases and other involuntary symptoms.

“Knowledge about TS comes from studies across a number of medical and scientific disciplines, including genetics, neuroimaging, neuropathology, clinical trials (medication and non-medication), epidemiology, neurophysiology, neuroimmunology, and descriptive/diagnostic clinical science” (Tourette’s Syndrome Fact Sheet 25). Many different organizations are working towards a cure for Tourette’s Syndrome, such as the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), a part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and even the UC Davis Mind Institute. Victims of Tourette’s Syndrome can join foundations across the country, where one can donate blood or X-Rays to help better the doctors’ knowledge about the disorder.

Tourette’s Syndrome is a very complex concept to grasp, as there are many twists and turns that lead into new theories and even branch into new diseases.

 

 

Here is a video to help you see the severity and humor in Tourette’s Syndrome: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aDipNAuZuZI

 

Works Cited:

“I Have Tourettes, But Tourettes Doesn’t Have Me.” YouTube. YouTube, n.d. Web. 02 Nov. 2014. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aDipNAuZuZI&gt;.
“Tourette Syndrome.” Causes. Mayo Clinic, 10 Aug. 2012. Web. 02 Nov. 2014. <http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/tourette-syndrome/basics/causes/con-20043570&gt;.
“Tourette Syndrome Fact Sheet.” : National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). National Institutes of Health, Jan. 2012. Web. 02 Nov. 2014. <http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/tourette/detail_tourette.htm&gt;.
“Tourette Syndrome.” KidsHealth – the Web’s Most Visited Site about Children’s Health. Ed. Joseph. The Nemours Foundation, 01 July 2014. Web. 02 Nov. 2014. <http://kidshealth.org/teen/diseases_conditions/brain_nervous/tourette.html&gt;.

Introduction

Tourette’s Syndrome is a neurological disease that causes a person to make quick, repeated actions verbally or physically that they have no control over. Furthermore, Tourette’s Syndrome is usually coupled with OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder), ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and others. My spectrum of Tourette’s Syndrome includes OCD, ADD, severe anxiety, and some signs of bipolar. This may seem like a lot to deal with (and it is), but I am not alone in this matter. About 3 in every 1,000 people have it, 37% having extremely severe cases, and the remaining percentage have mild version of the disease. The motions or sounds that people with Tourette’s make are often called tics, and start to disappear as time goes on. Most kids are diagnosed at ages 10-15, and their tics seem to have disappeared by the age of 17. All of these diseases can be treated, however some families don’t have the money to supply their children with medication. These are children that may seem like they have a severe case of Tourette’s Syndrome, but they might just be extremely affected by their lack of treatment. On the other side of the spectrum, children who have severe cases of Tourette’s Syndrome may look completely fine because they are overloaded on medication. Even with medication, children live some of the hardest mental lives imaginable, battling tics, obsessions, anxiety, and sometimes even thoughts of suicide. So far, there is no cure for Tourette’s Syndrome, however doctors are working on finding where Tourette’s Syndrome is located in the brain, which might give them a better shot. In this blog, you will be learning important things like genetics and treatments, but you will also be learning about some pretty funny side effects and will learn which well known celebrities have Tourette’s Syndrome.