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Tourette’s Syndrome Prevalence is Estimated


The Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s June 5 edition of their Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report gives the first ever estimate of the prevalence of neurological disorder Tourette's Syndrome (TS). The report states that the Syndrome afflicts three out of every 1,000 children between ages 6 and 17 in the United States.

The researchers examined the National Survey of Children’s Health data from parents or guardians for 64,034 children 6-17 years old between April 2007 and July 2008. This is the first large national, population-based survey of U.S. children less than 18 years old which has included questions about Tourette's syndrome.

Tourette's syndrome typically starts in childhood. It is characterized by recurring multiple motor tics, and at least one vocal tic. These tics are involuntary, repetitive, stereotyped, usually sudden and rapid movements or vocalizations that may be suppressed for short periods of time. Most often the symptoms are more severe in childhood and lessen by adulthood.

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Tourette’s is three times more common in boys than in girls. It appears to be twice as common in children between 12 to 17 years of age as in those 6 to 11.

The study noted that 27% of children with Tourette's Syndrome have moderate or severe cases. At least 79% of children with TS have at least one additional mental health or neurodevelopmental condition. Very often these include attention deficit/ hyperactivity disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and other impairments such as learning disabilities and problems with peer relations.

Perhaps this will lead to more understanding of the syndrome and its impact on the children, families, and society.

Center for Disease Control and Prevention MMWR