New method seeks to reduce syndromes of Tourette

This disorder produces involuntary movements and sounds

New method seeks to reduce syndromes of Tourette

Leer en Español: Un nuevo procedimiento podría reducir el síndrome de Tourette

According to the Tourette Association of America, the Gilles de la Tourette syndrome "is a neurologic disorder that appears during the childhood or adolescence before the 18 years of age. Normally, a person who has it has a lot of motor and phonetic tics that can last a year".

TAA: Tourette syndrome is a neurologic disorder that produces involuntary motor and vocal tics.

It is known for the vocal tics. Usually, they are produced along with physical tics. "The tics can include growls, coughs, and screaming. It can also incorporate Coprolalia, using involuntary obscene words or inappropriate phrases involuntary and/ or Copropraxia, involuntary obscene gestures", explained its official website. However, these are just in severe cases.

Tourette can also cause Coprolalia, involuntary obscene words or inappropriate phrases, or Copropraxia, involuntary obscene gestures

New treatment

This year, the NYU Langone Medical Center and the New York University School of Medicine showed a technique called Deep Brain Stimulation. The research, published in the Journal of Neurosurgery, discovered that the "surgical technique that sends electrical impulses to a specific area of the brain reduces 'tics', or involuntary movements and vocal outbursts, experienced by young adults with severe cases of Tourette syndrome".

According to the paper, "while pharmacological and behavioral therapy can be effective in most patients, a subset of patients remains refractory to treatment. Increasing clinical evidence from multiple centers suggests that deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the medial thalamus can be effective in many cases of refractory Tourette syndrome".

The research reviewed the outcomes in 13 patients with "refractory Tourette Syndrome who underwent media thalamic DBS performed by their team over a 7-year period". Immediately after the procedure, the patients showed a significant improvement in their symptoms (an average of 37% in total tic severity). Six months after the surgery, the improvement was of 50% on average.

The Deep Brain Stimulation reduces 36%, in total, of tic severity just after the surgery and 50% 6 months after

This surgical intervention just needs to be approved by the Food and Drugs Administration.

According to the Tourette Association of America, approximately 1 in 100 school-aged children (6-17 years) in the United States have had Tourette syndrome or any other Tic Disorder. "Based on 2010 U.S. census data, the prevalence for TS in school-aged children in the US is 0.6% (or 6 per thousand). Many of the patients reported to have another neurobehavioral condition, a learning disability, or other chronic health condition".

"There are scientific studies suggesting that Tourette is genetic and is inherited as a dominant gene that is passed from parent to child. However, there is no conclusive evidence that’s widely accepted by the scientific community", assured representatives of the Tourette Association of America.


Latin American Post | Santiago Gómez Hernández

Copy edited by Susana Cicchetto

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