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Tourette Syndrome And ADHD Frequently Occur Together

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  • Tourette Syndrome And ADHD Frequently Occur Together

    Tourette Syndrome And ADHD Frequently Occur Together
    Science Daily
    April 20, 2009

    copy of this article is attached for download / printing

    University of Calgary
    The most disabling aspect of Tourette syndrome is that in 90% of cases, it exists in conjunction with another disorder. The most frequent co-occurring condition in people with Tourette is attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, though the cause of this association is uncertain. Having one disorder can be disabling enough, but having two means coping with more than twice the disability.

    Dr. Tamara Pringsheim and a nine year-old Tourette syndrome patient.

    The most disabling aspect of Tourette syndrome is that in 90% of cases, it exists in conjunction with another disorder. The most frequent co-occurring condition in people with Tourette is attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), though the cause of this association is uncertain. Having one disorder can be disabling enough, but having two means coping with more than twice the disability.

    New research published in the April 13 edition of the Journal of Developmental and Behavioural Pediatrics by University of Calgary and University of Toronto researchers looked at nearly 400 children with Tourette syndrome to try to understand the connection between these two disorders. Their findings show that while Tourette and ADHD have a major genetic component, there are potentially preventable perinatal factors that increase the risk of a co-occurring diagnosis of ADHD in children with Tourette.

    "We know that perinatal stress is a risk factor for ADHD alone. If you were low birth weight, if your mother smoked during pregnancy, or if you were born prematurely, all these things increase the risk of ADHD," says Dr. Tamara Pringsheim, Director, Calgary Tourette Syndrome Clinic, a University of Calgary Faculty of Medicine professor and lead author on the study.

    To examine the link between Tourette and ADHD, the researchers looked at a population of children that had Tourette syndrome with or without ADHD and compared rates of perinatal risk factors such as low birth weight, prematurity, and maternal smoking in each group. Researchers found that the children exposed to these perinatal risks were two to three times as likely to develop Tourette syndrome with ADHD, suggesting that these factors play a role in the development of ADHD in children with Tourette as well.

    Pringsheim, a neurologist and researcher says the important information from this research is for people at risk genetically for Tourette syndrome to take precautions when planning a family by "not smoking, trying to ensure a healthy weight for the baby, and receiving appropriate medical care." Quality of life in children with Tourette syndrome is most importantly determined by the severity of ADHD symptoms; anything one can do to minimize the chances of a co-occurring diagnosis of ADHD will allow children a greater chance of success and happiness in their life.

    Laura Locke is a board member of the Tourette Syndrome Foundation of Canada and became involved with the foundation when her son was diagnosed with Tourette syndrome at the age of 10. "Research into Tourette syndrome is vital. We have seen the difference it can make to have accurate information about this disorder and better medications," she says.

    Tourette syndrome has a great spectrum of severity. People with Tourette have motor and vocal tics -- rapid, repetitive, meaningless movements and sounds. Common motor tics include forceful blinking, opening the eyes wide, head shaking and grimacing, while the most common vocal tics are sniffing, throat clearing and grunting. Some people are very mildly affected, while others have more severe symptoms which make the disorder more noticeable and disabling. It is believed that Tourette syndrome affects about 1 in 100 people; however, many people do not seek medical attention for the disorder because the symptoms are so mild.

    "There are a lot of misconceptions out there about people who suffer from Tourette. The images we see on TV and movies are completely false. I have some patients who have severe tics, but less than 10% of patients with Tourette syndrome swear. It's uncommon," says Pringsheim.

    Tamara Pringsheim is Director of the Calgary Tourette Syndrome Clinic and Clinical Assistant Professor with the Departments of Clinical Neurosciences and Pediatrics University of Calgary. She is also a member of the Institute for Child and Maternal Health at the U of C.

    The study is funded by the Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR).
    Attached Files
    TouretteLinks Forum

  • #2
    Re: Tourette Syndrome And ADHD Frequently Occur Together

    Hi Steve,
    Thanks for posting. It's great to see the work of Dr. Tamara Pringsheim in the media.
    Tina, Forum Moderator, TSFC Staff Liaison

    TSFC Homepage
    TSFC Membership


    • #3
      Re: Tourette Syndrome And ADHD Frequently Occur Together

      The ADHD is the worst aspect of this for me. Though it has it's advantages as well, if you go into the military or something else that can take advantage of the way perception is shaped in ADHD. I'm not disparaging that, most of my family and friends are or have been in the military. It's just that ADHD and science don't go so well together. At least not the way science is structured as an enterprise right now. I'm still working on properly structuring my life around it.

      Oddly enough the nicotine does help though.


      • #4
        Re: Tourette Syndrome And ADHD Frequently Occur Together

        Thinking about it a little more I was too hasty in suggesting that the ADHD advantages are only good in a military type setting. I guess I can't really say that for sure, it's just that all the examples I know of how it can work as a benefit have been in that setting and I was raised in a military family. I really don't have a lot of good examples of making it work in other settings and I'm trying to find scientists or engineering types with ADHD to ask about how they make it work. I may have been letting some of my current pessimism get to me.


        • #5
          Re: Tourette Syndrome And ADHD Frequently Occur Together

          Originally posted by Flutterguy
          I really don't have a lot of good examples of making it work in other settings

          151 Positive Characteristics of People with Attention Deficit Disorder.
          Pete Quily
          Adult ADD Coach

          Too many view ADHD as mere pathology. They only see the negatives of ADHD. As an adult ADHD coach who has ADHD, I know there are real negatives to having ADHD.

          But, if disease and disorder are the main lenses through which you view us because that’s all you’re looking for, you will miss out on our positive characteristics.

          While it is important to deal with our challenges, you don’t make a great living and a great life by primarily focusing on what you’re not good at.

          What you focus on expands:
          Ability to find alternate paths to overcome obstacles
          Able to take on large situations
          Adventurous, courageous, lives outside of boundaries
          Always finding alternate routes to any given location.
          Always willing to help others
          Ambitious – you want to be everything when “you grow up”
          Attractive personality – magnetic due to high energy
          Being able to see the big picture
          Being able to see the patterns in the chaos.
          Being intuitive towards others’ difficulties
          Broad focus – can see more, notice things more
          Can create order from chaos
          Can do many projects at once
          Can make people feel they are heard
          Can see the big picture
          Can talk about several things at one time
          Can think on my feet
          Career variety
          Centre of attention
          Comfortable talking in front of groups
          Comfortable with change and chaos
          Compassion for others and for themselves
          Conceptualizes well
          Constantly evolving
          Creates connections easily
          Creative writing
          Creative – musical, artistic, “dramatic”
          Good in a crisis
          Good at customer relations
          Determined to gain more control
          Eager to make friends
          Eager to try new things
          Empathetic, sensitive
          Excellent organizers using journals and reminders (notes etc.)
          Flexible – changes as the situation requires
          Fun guy to be around
          Good at conceptualizing
          Good at motivating self and others
          Good at multitasking
          Good at problem solving
          Good at public speaking
          Good at understanding others/mind reading – empathetic
          Good conversationalist
          Good delegator and good at organizing others
          Good in emergency situations
          Good listener
          Good looking and aware of it
          Good people skills
          Good self esteem, energetic
          Great brain-stormer
          Great multitasker
          Great self-company
          Great sense of humour
          Great storyteller
          Great with kids (central figure around kids)
          Hands-on workers
          Hard worker
          Has friendly relations with their family
          Has the gift of gab
          Helps others who are also in trouble
          High energy – go, go, go
          Humour, very healthy, quick picking up ideas
          Hyper focus !!
          Hypersensitive – very empathetic and good at non-verbal communications
          Idea generator
          Impulsive (in a good way) not afraid to act
          It’s ok to not finish everything
          Learning as much as I can to help children and others with adhd
          Less sleep is good (midnight to 6 am)
          Like to talk a lot
          Likes learning new things
          Look at multidimensional sides to a situation
          Lots of interests
          Loves to cook and be creative
          Master idea generator
          Mentoring others/helpful
          Mentoring people with low self esteem
          Move on fast – never hold a grudge
          Multitasks well
          Never bored and rarely boring
          Never intimidated to try new things
          Non-linear, multi-dimensional/edge of chaos
          Not afraid to speak mind
          Not contained by boundaries.
          On stage and ready
          Holistic thinking
          Problem solver
          Quick thinking
          Quick witted
          Relates to people easily
          Saves money in the short term by forgetting to file tax returns
          See and remember details – recount them later
          Sees the big picture
          Socially adaptive and flexible.
          Stabilizer during difficult situations
          Takes initiative
          Think outside the box
          Thinks 2 meters ahead of the world
          Thinks big, dreams big
          Unlimited energy
          Very creative, able to generate a lot of ideas
          Very hard working to compensate – workaholic
          Very intuitive
          Very resourceful
          Very successful
          Visual learner
          Willing to explore
          Willing to take risks
          Willingness to help others
          Won’t tolerate boredom
          Works well under pressure
          TouretteLinks Forum