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Tourette Syndrome
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Resource Description: 
The mission of the NINDS is to seek fundamental knowledge about the brain and nervous system and to use that knowledge to reduce the burden of neurological disease.
TeensHealth is part of the KidsHealth family of websites. These sites, run by the nonprofit Nemours Center for Children's Health Media, provide accurate, up-to-date health information that's free of "doctor speak.
The Tourette Association of America has emerged as the premier national non-profit organization working to make life better for all people affected by Tourette and Tic Disorders.
Episode number: 
1303

Tourette syndrome is a neurological disorder that presents in early childhood or adolescence with the first symptoms often being involuntary movements, or tics.  Peter Morrison was diagnosed when he was 10 years old, and he shares his story of overcoming the personal and social challenges caused by the syndrome. He’s joined by his mother Susan, who provides her perspective as a parent.  

[SOURCE: Tourette Association of America]

Tourette Syndrome is one type of Tic Disorder. Tics are involuntary, repetitive movements and vocalizations. They are the defining feature of a group of childhood-onset, neurodevelopmental conditions known collectively as Tic Disorders and individually as Tourette Syndrome, Chronic Tic Disorder (Motor or Vocal Type), and Provisional Tic Disorder. The three Tic Disorders are distinguished by the types of tics present (motor, vocal/ phonic, or both) and by the length of time that the tics have been present.

Individuals with Tourette Syndrome (TS) have had at least two motor tics and at least one vocal/ phonic tic in some combination over the course of more than a year. By contrast, individuals with Chronic Tic Disorder have either motor tics or vocal tics that have been present for more than a year, and individuals with Provisional Tic Disorder have tics that have been present for less than a year.

Tics typically emerge between the ages of 5-7 years, most often with a motor tic of the head and neck region. They tend to increase in frequency and severity between the ages of 8-12 years. Most people with Tourette Syndrome show noticeable improvement in late adolescence, with some becoming tic-free. A minority of people with TS continue to have persistent, severe tics in adulthood.

Tics can range from mild to severe and, in some cases, can be self-injurious and debilitating. Tics regularly change in type, frequency, and severity—sometimes for reasons unknown and sometimes in response to specific internal and external factors, including stress, anxiety, excitement, fatigue, and illness.

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