Tourette Syndrome Essay

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Tourette Syndrome

Tourette Syndrome, or TS, affects approximately one hundred thousand Americans of whom you will find in a variety of professions and social settings (7). It is a neurological disease which is characterized by repeated and involuntary body movements and vocal sounds. Before TS was known to be a health problem uncontrollable by the patient, it was seen as nervousness, possession by a spirit, epilepsy or simply as bad habits (5). Today it is known that imbalances in certain brain chemicals are what causes the symptoms of this disease. It is interesting to examine TS and use it as a tool for better understanding (in part) how, in what quantity, and at what level the brain (and the nervous system as a whole) contribute to …show more content…

It was found that drugs which stimulate the production of the brain chemical dopamine can induce "tics" (7). Some ideas about how this is happening in TS victims suggest that there may be "supersensitive" receptors to dopamine in specific areas of the brain, and that this area under normal conditions would act like a "brake" on the movements made on purpose (3). Or, there just may be higher than normal levels of dopamine production and use in the patient. Still other scientists say that dopamine may not be the only chemical involved. They have also found differing levels of a chemical called serotonin in TS patients (where it was high) and unaffected people (where it was lower). Other theories include increase in red-cell choline, imbalance in central nervous system dopamine and acetylcholine, and motor movements originating in the anterior cingulate cortex (1). Locating the genetic basis of the disease can help doctors and scientists better aid in treating those with TS.

While there is no medication which relieves every symptom of TS, there is the possibility of improvement if the patient does not have serious side effects to the medications, of which there are a variety (i.e. pimozide, risperidone, clonidine) (8). Researches have found that the drug haloperidol acts on dopamine and in turn calms the patient. Haloperidol works by blocking the receiving areas on receptor cells where dopamine passes on messages

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