Tourette Syndrome

What is Tourette syndrome?
Tourette syndrome (TS) is a neurological disorder characterized by repetitive, involuntary movements and vocalizations called tics. This condition was named after Dr. Georges Gilles de la Tourette, a French neurologist, who discovered the condition in 1885.

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, it is estimated that 200,000 Americans have the most severe form of TS, and as many as one in 100 exhibit milder and less complex symptoms such as chronic motor or vocal tics.

Although TS can be a chronic condition with symptoms lasting a lifetime, most people with the condition experience their worst symptoms in their early teens, with improvement occurring in the late teens and continuing into adulthood.

What are the symptoms of TS?
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke the following are simple motor tics/symptoms of TS:

Simple motor tics that are sudden, brief and repetitive movements. Some simple tics may include:

  • Eye blinking and other eye movements
  • Facial grimacing
  • Shoulder shrugging
  • Head or shoulder jerking
  • Simple vocalizations like repetitive throat clearing, sniffing or grunting sounds

Complex tics are distinct, coordinated patterns of movements involving several muscle groups. They might include:

  • Facial grimacing combined with head twist and a shoulder shrug
  • Sniffing
  • Touching objects
  • Hopping
  • Jumping
  • Bending or twisting
  • Vocal tics with words or phrases (socially inappropriate words) or echolalia (repeating the words or phrases of others)

The National Tourette Syndrome Association at or 1-718 224-2999.

Tourette Syndrome Association of New Jersey, Inc. at or call 1-732 972-4459.

Tourette Syndrome Association NY Chapter at or 1-800 326-5494.

The NJ Center for Tourette Syndrome and Associated Disorders (NJCTS) at 1-908-575-7350.