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transient tics vs chronic vs TS

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  • transient tics vs chronic vs TS

    Hello, all. I'm glad I found this forum, and I have a few questions that I haven't seen addressed.

    Our nearly-4-year-old started blinking and sniffing a couple weeks ago. We haven't taken her to see her pediatrician yet since the tics seem pretty mild and she has no other problems.

    I understand that tics are often transient, but I haven't seen any data that suggests markers for transient vs chronic ticcing.

    Is waiting a year the only option? Or are there other signs that distinguish transient tics?

    Does anybody understand why transient tics go away? Are they a side-effect of the fast brain development going on before age 6?

    Finally, I haven't seen much about mercury and tics, but it looks like there's a link. I only ask because our kid starting ticcing about a day after eating a tuna sandwich. I'm sure it was coincidence, but I'd be interested to hear of any indications that low levels of mercury can have such an effect.

  • #2
    Re: transient tics vs chronic vs TS

    Welcome to the TSFC Forum, Sarahsdad! Glad you found us.

    Some of our other Forum colleagues may have more experience with the question of transient tics so please check back.

    Feel free to join in any ongoing discussion or start as many as you would like. We'll do our best to find the answer.
    TouretteLinks Forum


    • #3
      Re: transient tics vs chronic vs TS

      Welcome sarahsdad.


      • #4
        Re: transient tics vs chronic vs TS

        Thanks for the welcome.

        Great forum you have here.

        I have a couple more questions from left field.

        Sarah sniffs pretty consistently when she has her morning milk from a sippy cup. That suggests to me that her sniff tic is comforting to her.

        Her blinks, on the other hand, seem to come more often during conversation -- especially when she might be processing new information. She also furrows her brow a bit, but she has done that forever, and it doesn't seem like a tic.

        Anyway, does this comfort/processing tic distinction ring true for anyone?

        Also, I read an account from somebody with TS in which he mentioned that he felt TS made him hyperaware, and he liked that aspect of TS.

        Sarah sometimes seems hyperaware to us. She can pick up a new piece on the piano pretty quickly, for one example.

        And I made the mistake of correcting her grammar once. I told her "gonna" isn't a word, and she should try to say "going to" instead.

        Since then, she corrects both Mom and Dad several times a day. She never misses an instance, and she has full comprehension while she monitors for "gonna."

        We eventually cried uncle, and we have made "gonna" an official word.


        • #5
          Re: transient tics vs chronic vs TS

          If her tics have only been around for 2-3 weeks, it might be a bit early to get a true diagnosis. Tourette's usually shows up a little bit later, and yes, for a standard diagnosis they need to appear for a longer time. Are tics prevelant in your family at all? Do you have TS, or have relatives with TS at all?

          The 'hyperaware' state and her grammar corrections sound like characteristics of TS+, which means added ADD/ADHD and/or obsessive-compulsive disorder. Both ADD and OCD can lead to states of hyperawareness and intense focus. The attention to grammar corrections certainly sound like OCD.

          But at the same time, they might be simple quirks in her personality. She may simply be attentive, and very intelligent.

          It's possible that her little tics might be a temporary thing while she's developing. A mild allergy can be enough to set off little tics sometimes. The sniffing "tic" while she's drinking could be as simple as a sinus passage that gets mildly irritated when she drinks, and sniffing makes it feel better.

          It's tough to determine exactly what causes each of these, but it's worth mentioning to her doctor and keeping an eye on them for a while.


          • #6
            Re: transient tics vs chronic vs TS

            Originally posted by cailean View Post
            Are tics prevelant in your family at all? Do you have TS, or have relatives with TS at all?
            None that really stand-out. Perhaps one of her cousins with mild symptoms, but no strong genetic link.

            But at the same time, they might be simple quirks in her personality. She may simply be attentive, and very intelligent.
            That's our hope, of course. I looked up the DSM criteria for ADHD, and it seems like a very slippery definition. For me, the bottom line is whether there is social or educational impact, and so far, she seems fine on those fronts.

            At this point, we're just looking for some way to predict the future course of her tics. But I guess that's pretty futile, so we'll deal with any hurdles as they appear.

            Thanks for your input. This little episode has me asking myself about the spectrum of "normal" behavior. I think I'll back off trying to diagnose and fix something until we see her struggling to adapt.


            • #7
              Re: transient tics vs chronic vs TS



              • #8
                Re: transient tics vs chronic vs TS

                It does indeed sounds like OCD and the 'useful' hyperactivity of ADHD. Their comorbidity with TS makes it highly likely you are seeing tics of TS.

                Transient Tic of Childhood has no genetic relation to TS. It is on the spectrum of tic disorders, tics being a symptom, not a cause or genetic marker.

                But, there is a lot of good news. 1. You have come to the right place for support and information. 2. You are WAY ahead of the curve as a parent. I was diagnosed at 22, and my age of onset was well before 7 years old. 3. These could all be coincidental, and it could be Transient. 4. Even if it is TS+, it does not automatically mean your child will have problems, especially if you consider #1 and #2 above.

                "A Year" is just a nice round number for the code manual. Talk to us, and talk to a neurologist or psychiatrist who knows TS+, and make your own decision. And deal with the child, not the labels. If the child needs help at school, then you can "fill out the paperwork" and get accomodations. If your child does have TS, then you have some options, and you can plan ahead for certain things, just as if your child was diabetic or MS or MD with an early diagnosis.

                In fact, I'd rather have TS+ then just about anything else chronic. No joke at all - I've given this a lot of thought.
                Darin M. Bush, The Tourette Tiger, author of "Tiger Trails"