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Brain Zaps May Help Curb Tics of Tourette Syndrome

Posted 2 days 14 hours ago by

TUESDAY, Jan. 16, 2018 – Electric zaps can help rewire the brains of Tourette syndrome patients, effectively reducing their uncontrollable vocal and motor tics, a new study shows. The procedure, called deep brain stimulation (DBS), improved tic severity by nearly half in 171 patients with uncontrolled Tourette symptoms at 31 hospitals in 10 countries. "That's an impressive number," said senior researcher Dr. Michael Okun, chair of neurology and co-director of the Movement Disorders Center at the University of Florida's College of Medicine. "To get that much improvement in these symptoms is difficult when using medication or behavioral therapy." With DBS, brain surgeons run thin electric leads to specific regions of the basal ganglia, a cluster of nerves in the brain related to motor control and behavior, Okun explained. Doctors then apply electricity to the brain circuits they've most ... Read more

Related support groups: Tourette's Syndrome, Diagnosis and Investigation

Medical Marijuana Won't Help Most Sick Kids

Posted 23 Oct 2017 by

MONDAY, Oct. 23, 2017 – Medical marijuana appears to hold only limited promise for sick children and teenagers, a new review suggests. It can help kids fighting cancer with chemotherapy-related nausea and vomiting, and it can control seizures somewhat in children with epilepsy, said study author Dr. Shane Shucheng Wong. He is a psychiatrist with Massachusetts General Hospital, in Boston. But there's not enough evidence to say that medical marijuana can help kids with any other medical conditions, such as neuropathic pain, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or Tourette's syndrome, Wong added. Medical marijuana is now legal in 29 states and the District of Columbia, making it potentially available as a medication for kids. "Children and adolescents can legally access medical cannabis if they have certification from a doctor and from their legal guardian," Wong said. "As a result, ... Read more

Related support groups: Seizures, Seizure Prevention, Marinol, Tourette's Syndrome, Seizure Prophylaxis, Cannabis, Nausea/Vomiting - Chemotherapy Induced, Nabilone, Dronabinol, Cesamet, Syndros

New Clues to Why Yawns Are Contagious

Posted 31 Aug 2017 by

THURSDAY, Aug. 31, 2017 – The "contagiousness" of yawns may be rooted in primitive brain reflexes, British researchers report. Echophenomena is the term for contagious movements such as yawns. Humans tend to yawn when they see others yawn, and so do chimpanzees and dogs. Researchers at the University of Nottingham wondered where the roots of this type of echophenomena are located. They examined 36 adults as they looked at video clips of people yawning. The participants were told to either try to stop themselves from yawning or just let it happen. The researchers found that it's hard to resist yawning when you see someone yawn, and the urge to yawn gets stronger when you're told not to do it. The researchers also found that people differ in their vulnerability to yawns. "We suggest that these findings may be particularly important in understanding further the association between motor ... Read more

Related support groups: Epilepsy, Dementia, Autism, Tourette's Syndrome, Asperger Syndrome

When is Tourette Syndrome Actually Autism?

Posted 22 Jun 2017 by

THURSDAY, June 22, 2017 – More than one in five children with Tourette syndrome also tests positive for autism, a new study shows. But it's unlikely that so many children actually have both disorders. What's more probable is that Tourette's symptoms often mimic or seem quite similar to those of autism, the researchers noted. "Our results suggest that although autism diagnoses were higher in individuals with Tourette's, some of the increase may be due to autism-like symptoms, especially repetitive behaviors that are more strongly related to obsessive-compulsive disorder," said study first author Sabrina Darrow, an assistant professor in the department of psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco. Tourette's affects between one and 10 in 1,000 children, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health. It is more common in males, and typical tics include repetitive ... Read more

Related support groups: Autism, Tourette's Syndrome, Asperger Syndrome, Diagnosis and Investigation

Deep Brain Stimulation May Ease Tourette 'Tics'

Posted 11 Apr 2017 by

TUESDAY, April 11, 2017 – Some young people with severe cases of Tourette syndrome may benefit from having electrodes implanted in the brain, a small study suggests. The procedure, known as deep brain stimulation (DBS), has long been used to treat certain cases of Parkinson's disease and other brain-based disorders. But DBS is still considered experimental in the context of Tourette syndrome – a disorder that causes people to habitually make involuntary sounds or movements, commonly known as "tics." The new findings, published online April 7 in the Journal of Neurosurgery, add to evidence that DBS can help ease severe tics. The "hope" is that there will eventually be enough evidence for approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, said Dr. Alon Mogilner, the senior researcher on the study. In the United States, it's estimated that Tourette syndrome affects 0.6 percent of ... Read more

Related support groups: Parkinson's Disease, Tourette's Syndrome, Diagnosis and Investigation, Parkinsonism, Head Imaging

Tourette Threat Surges for Babies When Mom Smokes in Pregnancy

Posted 16 Sep 2016 by

FRIDAY, Sept. 16, 2016 – Children born to mothers who smoked during pregnancy are at increased risk for Tourette syndrome and other chronic tics, a new study suggests. Tics are repeated twitches, movements or sounds that people are unable to control. For the study, researchers analyzed data from more than 73,000 births in Denmark. The investigators found that children whose mothers smoked 10 or more cigarettes a day during pregnancy had a 66 percent increased risk of developing a chronic tic disorder. Heavy smoking during pregnancy was also linked to a twofold to threefold increase in a child's risk for chronic tics in combination with other neuropsychiatric conditions, such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). "Identifying environmental causes for chronic tic disorders and related psychiatric conditions is important because if we know specific risk factors, we can ... Read more

Related support groups: Smoking, Smoking Cessation, Tourette's Syndrome, Labor and Delivery including Augmentation

Tourette Risk Seems to Be Driven by Genetics

Posted 17 Jun 2015 by

WEDNESDAY, June 17, 2015 – People who have a relative with Tourette syndrome or a tic disorder are at increased risk for the same condition, a new study says. The highest risk is among first-degree relatives, such as siblings, parents and children, the researchers said. Tourette syndrome is a nervous system condition marked by tics, or sudden twitches, movements or sounds, that people do repeatedly, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It's estimated that one out of 360 U.S. children is diagnosed with the condition. The researchers analyzed data from more than 4,800 people in Sweden diagnosed with Tourette syndrome and chronic tic disorder between 1969 and 2009. First-degree relatives of people with these tic disorders had a much higher risk of the disorders than second- and third-degree relatives, whose risk was higher than people who did not have ... Read more

Related support groups: Tourette's Syndrome

Insights Gained Into Tourette Syndrome

Posted 23 Dec 2013 by

FRIDAY, Dec. 20, 2013 – New insight into what causes the uncontrolled movement and noises (tics) in people with Tourette syndrome may lead to new non-drug treatments for the disorder, a new study suggests. These tics appear to be caused by defective wiring in the brain that results in "hyper-excitability" in the regions that control motor function, according to the researchers at the University of Nottingham in England. "This new study is very important as it indicates that motor and vocal tics in children may be controlled by brain changes that alter the excitability of brain cells ahead of voluntary movements," Stephen Jackson, a professor in the school of psychology, said in a university news release. "You can think of this as a bit like turning the volume down on an over-loud motor system. This is important as it suggests a mechanism that might lead to an effective ... Read more

Related support groups: Tourette's Syndrome

Genetic Studies Give Clues to Tourette Syndrome, OCD

Posted 14 Aug 2012 by

TUESDAY, Aug. 14 – Two new large-scale studies searching for the genetic links to a couple of relatively common psychiatric conditions show how difficult it can be to decipher the human genome's role in disease. The research, the first genome-wide studies looking at the potential association of particular genes with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and Tourette syndrome, was published in two reports in the Aug. 14 issue of Molecular Psychiatry. While the studies failed to identify particular genes responsible for either of these conditions, it contributed important new clues. "The studies suggest there are probably lots of different genes of small effect that play a role, or, perhaps, there is a rare single gene," said Dr. Francis McMahon, chief of the human genetics branch within the intramural research program at the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health. While the research did ... Read more

Related support groups: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Tourette's Syndrome

Tourette Patients Benefit From Behavioral Therapy: Study

Posted 6 Aug 2012 by

MONDAY, Aug. 6 – Tourette Syndrome patients fare better when offered tic management therapy as opposed to support sessions solely focused on providing information about the neurological disorder, new research suggests. The finding is based on a study of 122 patients between the ages of 16 and 55, all of whom struggle with the sudden and unwanted repetitive physical and verbal tics that characterize Tourette Syndrome. "Typically, medication has been used to treat tics," explained study author Sabine Wilhelm, director of the OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) and Related Disorders Program at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School in Boston. "But many patients refuse or discontinue medications due to unwanted side effects." "Behavior therapy," Wilhelm said, "takes a different approach from medication. Patients often report a premonitory urge – that's an unpleasant ... Read more

Related support groups: Tourette's Syndrome

Behavioral Therapy May Reduce Tourette Tics, Symptoms

Posted 23 Apr 2011 by

THURSDAY, April 21 – Tics and other problems plaguing people with Tourette syndrome can be significantly reduced with relaxation techniques and cognitive behavioral therapy, according to a small new study. By using tests that measured symptoms common to the illness, the study found that 10 adult Tourette patients improved by 57 percent after cognitive behavioral therapy. Their brain activity also became more typical as measured electronically, the study found. Cognitive behavioral therapy includes relaxation techniques, biofeedback and "habit reversal." The latter teaches patients to inhibit uncontrolled movement by practicing reverse "competitive" motions. The study's lead author noted that the findings show that adult brains may be more malleable than once thought. "Even during adulthood the brain is sufficiently plastic to reorganize its network concomitantly with behavioral ... Read more

Related support groups: Tourette's Syndrome

Children With Tourette Syndrome Have Better Motor Control, Study Finds

Posted 25 Mar 2011 by

THURSDAY, March 24 – Children with Tourette syndrome perform behavioral tests of cognitive motor control more quickly and accurately than those without the disorder, a new study found. Tourette syndrome is characterized by repeated involuntary sounds and physical movements called tics, which may involve blinking, grimacing, shrugging, twisting, grunting or – in rare adult cases – blurting out swear words. The enhanced cognitive motor control in people with Tourette syndrome arises from structural and functional changes in the brain that likely result from the need to constantly suppress tics, according to the authors of the study, which was published online March 24 in the journal Current Biology. "The motor outputs of children with Tourette syndrome are under greater cognitive control. You might view this as their being less likely to respond without thinking, or as being less ... Read more

Related support groups: Tourette's Syndrome

Can Self-Hypnosis Help Tourette Patients Control Tics?

Posted 13 Jul 2010 by

TUESDAY, July 13 – Children and young adults with Tourette syndrome can gain control over their involuntary tics through self-hypnosis, a small new study suggests. But a specialist in the condition said the research is too preliminary to indicate whether the strategy actually works. In the study, reported in the July/August issue of the Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics, researchers used a video to teach 33 people aged 6 to 19 how to relax through self-hypnosis. The participants all had the tics caused by Tourette syndrome. "Once the patient is in his or her highly focused 'special place,' work is then done on controlling the tic. We ask the patient to imagine the feeling right before that tic occurs and to put up a stop sign in front of it, or to imagine a tic switch that can be turned on and off like a light switch," study co-author Dr. Jeffrey Lazarus, formerly of the ... Read more

Related support groups: Tourette's Syndrome

Getting Closer to Cause of Tourette Syndrome

Posted 5 May 2010 by

WEDNESDAY, May 5 – A family in which the father and all eight of his children have Tourette syndrome held clues to treating the neurological disorder that can cause debilitating, involuntary motor and verbal tics. By studying the family's genome, researchers identified a mutation on the HDC gene that encodes the enzyme L-histidine decarboxylase, which is involved in regulating levels of the neurotransmitter histamine in the central nervous system. While the variant itself is likely very rare – meaning most people with Tourette syndrome don't have the precise mutation – what's known about the gene's function in the body hints at new treatments, researchers explained. Previous research in mice has shown that manipulating brain levels of histamine by decreasing activity of HDC makes mice more likely to have repetitive behaviors, such as biting, rearing and chewing. "Those are behaviors ... Read more

Related support groups: Tourette's Syndrome

Hormones May Affect Neurological Disease Risk

Posted 30 Jun 2009 by

TUESDAY, June 30 – Fluctuating hormone levels may explain trends in the timing of women's susceptibility to neurological diseases such as Parkinson's, schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, Tourette's and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, new research suggests. Significant estrogen level changes occur at various stages of women's lives, including adolescence and menopause, and as a result of menstrual cycles. The onset or exacerbation of neurological diseases are most likely to occur at these times, said researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch. They found that a number of estrogens acting through their receptors affect the dopamine transporter (DAT). Dopamine is a neurotransmitter in the brain that plays an important role in normal functioning of the central nervous system. "The significance of estrogen-coupled regulation of the DAT by both direct and indirect ... Read more

Related support groups: Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Schizophrenia, Parkinson's Disease, Alzheimer's Disease, Tourette's Syndrome

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