Tourette Syndrome Essay Research Paper Tourette SyndromeTourette

Tourette Syndrome Essay, Research Paper

Tourette Syndrome

Tourette Syndrome was named for Georges Gilles de la Tourette, who first

described the syndrome in 1885. Although the disease was identified in 1885,

today in 1996, there still is a mystery surrounding Tourette Syndrome, its

causes and possible cures. Tourette Syndrome is a neurological disorder that

researchers believe is caused by and abnormal metabolism of the

neurotransmitters dopamire and serotonin. It is genetically transmitted from

parent to child. There is a fifty percent chance of passing the gene on from

parent to child (Gaffy,Ottinger). Those most at risk are sons of mothers with

Tourette Syndrome. About three-quarters of Tourette Syndrome patients are male.

Males with the disorder have a ninety-nine percent chance of displaying symptoms.

Females, have a seventy percent chance of displaying symptoms. This ration of

3-4:1 for males and females may be accounted for by referral bias. Also, there

is a frequent number of reported cases within the Mennonite religious isolate

population in Canada. The specific genetic transmission however, has not been

established. Some researchers believe that the mar is on an autosomal dominant

trait. Some cases however are sporadic, and there may not be a link to family

history involved. These cases are mild however, and not full blown. The onset

of Tourette Syndrome must be before the age of fifteen, and usually occurs after

the age of two. The mean age onset of motor tics is seven. The mean age onset

for vocal tics is nine. In order for a person to be classified as having

Tourette Syndrome they must have both multiple motor tics and vocal tics. These

tics however do not have to occur everyday. In fact, affected individuals may

rarely exhibit all of the symptoms, or all of the tics. The vocal and motor tics

must also occur within the same year, for a person to be classified as having

Tourette Syndrome. Symptoms can disappear for weeks or months at a time.

However if people afflicted with the syndrome try and suppress their tics, they

will re occur with increased ferver. Tics increase as a result of tension or

stress, and decrease with relaxation or concentration on absorbing a task.

Tics are classified into two groups: complex and simple tics. Simple

tics are movements or vocalizations which are completely uncomprehendable and

meaningless to those not suffering from the disorder (Peiss). Complex tics are

movements or vocalizations which make use of more than one muscle group to

appear to be meaningful (Peiss). Simple motor tics are: eye blinking, head

jerking, shoulder shrugging or facial grimacing. Simple vocal tics are: throat

clearing, coughing, snorting, baiting, yelping. Examples of complex motor tics

include: jumping, touching over people, and or things, smelling, stomping loudly,

making obscene gestures, hitting or biting oneself. Complex vocal tics are any

understandable words given out of context, and may including echoing and


Other problems associated with Tourette Syndrome include Attention-

Deficit Disorder, Hyperactivity Disorder, disinhibition, obsessive compulsive

disorder, dyslexia and other various learning disabilities, and various sleep

disorders. People with Tourette Syndrome do tend to present more other Axis 1

disorders than the rest of the normal population not afflicted with the syndrome.

People with Tourette Syndrome are also afflicted with obsessions of

contamination, disease, sexual impulses, self harm, being ?just right?, and


Sixty percent of those who are diagnosed as having Tourette Syndrome

will also display some type of learning disorder. Such disorders include:

having difficulty organizing work, having difficulty playing quietly, talking

excessively, interrupting and intruding on others, having a shorter attention

span, losing necessary materials for school and home, and engaging in physically

dangerous activity, with no thought given to the ramifications of their actions.

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder is also found in sixty percent of those

with Tourette Syndrome. Those with ADHD are easily distracted, has difficulty

getting along in groups, shifts from activity to activity, often blurts out

answers before asked, and fidgets with hands, feet, or squirms in seat.

Although these symptoms may seem fairly similar it Tourette Syndrome, it is

important to remember that Tourette Syndrome is a genetically inherited disease.

These other complexes are merely brought on by the neurological imbalance which

affects the brain of those afflicted.

Tourette Syndrome cannot be treated as a whole. Medications must be

issued for the different aspects of the disease. For example, Tics and

movements are treated with Neuoleptics, Clonidine and SErotonin Drugs, which are

prozac-like. These drugs are very good for treating muscle spasms as well as

tremors. However the side effects may be unpleasant. Therefore the patients

under such drugs must be monitored for the liver and heart. The Medical

Treatment for OCD is augmenting dopamine agents (Orap) or Klonopin. These drugs

help curtail depression, but how genital-urinary side-effects. The ADHD in

Tourette Syndrome are treated with Ritalin because the tics may not increase if

used in reasonable dosages. Hyperactivity is also curtailed. The side effects

of Ritalin are urinary problems, skin changes, EEG monitor, and EKG monitor as

well. The Tics may also be controlled by visits to doctors office, talking to

friends, and staying away from social gatherings, and learning to deal with

emotional trauma.

Help however is available for Tourette Syndrome. The goals of health

professionals concerning this disorder is to clarify reasons for school problems,

and to develop and individualized multimodality treatment program.


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