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Prevalance Of Tourette Syndrome, CDC Study

Posted by Chrissie Cole
Friday, June 05, 2009 11:41 AM EST
Category: Major Medical
Tags: Tourette Syndrome, Children's Health, Tics, CDC, Neurological Disorder


IMAGE SOURCE: Wikimedia Commons / Collage representing groups affected by Tourette syndrome / author: Optigan13

A new survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), estimates that three in every 1,000 children in the United States suffers from Tourette’s syndrome. That’s a total of 150,000 cases in the country.

Previous estimates had varied from one in 1,000 to 30 in 1,000. The new study, published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, is the first to provide hard numbers on the disorder.

Tourette syndrome (TS) is a neurological disorder characterized by repetitive, rapid, involuntary movements and vocalizations called tics. The disorder is named for Dr. Georges Gilles de la Tourette, the pioneering French neurologist.

Symptoms change periodically in number, frequency, type and severity – even disappearing for weeks at a time. Commonly, motor tics may be eye blinking, head jerking and shoulder shrugging. While vocally the symptoms may be throat clearing, sniffing and tongue movement.

“Having strong data about the prevalence of the disorder is the first step toward understanding its association to these other problems,” said study author Dr. Rebecca Bitsko, health scientist at the CDC.

Many children with Tourette’s tend to also have neurological or mental health problems, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder. As such the relationships between these conditions warrants further study, she said.

For the study, researchers examined data from the National Survey of Children’s Health from parents or guardians of 64,034 children 6-17 years old between April 2007 and July 2008.

The NSCH was the first national, population-based survey of U.S. children less than 18 years old that included questions about Tourette's syndrome.

Researchers found the disorder is three times more common in boys as in girls and about twice as common in children 12 to 17 as in those 6 to 11. They also found the disorder is twice as prevalent in Caucasian children as in African American children and Hispanic children.

The reason boys are more likely than girls to express symptoms of TS is unclear and is likely the result of a combination of genetic, hormonal, and environmental factors, wrote researchers. #

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