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Study: Prevalence of Tics Among Schoolchildren

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  • Study: Prevalence of Tics Among Schoolchildren

    A study (Kurlan et. al., 2001) published in the medical journal Neurology suggests that as many as 18.5 percent of school children in regular education classrooms could have tics. While this estimate may seem high, the number of those afflicted with Tourette is indisputably under-diagnosed.

    Are you surprised by these finding?

    Source:Abstract Neurology

    Dum spiro spero....While I breathe, I hope

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  • #2
    Study: Prevalence of Tics Among Schoolchildren

    I'm not particularly suprised. Tics doesn't necessarily mean Tourette's Syndrome -- so this could include mild or temporary tics that are triggered on by stress and may not be a permenant neurological state. That's not suprising, given how stressful education systems can be on a developing mind.


    • #3
      Study: Prevalence of Tics Among Schoolchildren

      I'm not surprised..

      Mild tics can be considered anxiety in a school setting and ignored. I knew people that obviously now looking back had some form of mild TS when I was in school.

      As people become more aware of TS I wonder if diagnosis's will explode like ADD did.


      • #4
        Study: Prevalence of Tics Among Schoolchildren

        Hi everyone:

        I just have a mentioned that mild tics may not necessarily mean Tourette's -- is it safe to say that if mild tics last a minimum of one year without more than a 3 month remission during that time (the standard definition for TS that I have found), then it IS Tourette's?

        I'm just wondering, as my pediatrician diagnosed my son at the 5 month point of tic symptoms, and mentioned nothing about waiting a full year to see if they last. Right now, he has had them for about 7 months, waxing and waning.




        • #5
          Study: Prevalence of Tics Among Schoolchildren

          To meet the criteria for TS, tics can be mild, but you need the combination of more than one motor tic and at least one vocal tic to meet the criteria for TS. As stated in this thread, there are other tic disorders that will show up in school age children, including transient tic disorders and chronic tic disorders. See this thread for a description of these tic disorders.

          The doctor does not need to have followed the patient for a year to make the diagnosis of TS. If the parents and/or teachers have reported seeing tics over the previous year or more, that meets the criteria.

          Even without reports of tics for more than a year, some doctors that are familiar with TS are not waiting for the year. They rely on their experience with the symptoms they are seeing and that the parents describe and their experience with the course of the disorder they have seen in other patients in the past.

          The DSM definition is always under review and as more research is done on TS you can expect that the definition of TS will change.
          Forum Moderator


          • #6
            Study: Prevalence of Tics Among Schoolchildren

            Hi Cathy:

            Thank you for the information -- it clarifies things for me. My son has had visible symptoms now for about 7 months, and I will continue to take note of any continuation in them. He has exhibited more than one motor tic and a couple of vocal tics, so I think that probably rules out both the chronic and transient tics.

            Thank you for your help,



            • #7
              Study: Prevalence of Tics Among Schoolchildren

              I'm not surprised by those findings.... From my experience, people who tic don't often go to the doctor about it, so I can imagine it's undiagnosed. I know for me, it felt like I WANTED to do the ticcing.. I'm sure all you who have TS know what i mean but it's hard to explain to someone who doesn't tic, that since it's an urge, it doesn't necessarily feel like my body is doing it of its own accord.
              As a kid, I believed that DEEP DOWN, I WANTED to perform the tics because they felt good. (Of COURSE they felt good, since it's done to satisfy an urge. LOL!). ... anyway, since I believed that I was doing this ticcing volitionally, I certainly never would've thought to seek help for it.

              And though I hope things are changing, when my mother DID finally ask the doctor about it, he told her I was bored. *sigh (Granted, this was around 1980, so things BETTER have changed! ;) )

              As far as sandra asking about TS lasting a year and what we call it... I think it's all rather arbitrary... I mean, a bunch of doctors/researchers decided that if it lasts more than a year it's TS, and if it lasts less than a year, it's not, but who really knows. And if one has a vocal tic, it's TS, but if one doesn't, it isn't? But what of the vocal tics that make noise indirectly, like sniffing.. maybe it's really a motor tic because I doubt that it's the need to create the sniffing sound that makes me do that tic, but the feeling it invokes (muscle-wise).. the fact that it makes a sound is incidental to me, think.

              So, we might find out that the whole ticcing thing is one big spectrum, all caused by the same thing, and for some reason it shows up differently in some than in others. ?? OR, we may find that what we now call TS really has 3, 8, or 24 totally different root causes that manifest themselves similarly. (like the tics cailean mentioned, just brought about by stress (nervous tics?).)

              OK, anyway, I'm babbling.. :D


              • #8
                Study: Prevalence of Tics Among Schoolchildren

                OK, I can see that this could get really confusing! Thanks all for your input, really helps to get different perspectives.



                • #9
                  Study: Prevalence of Tics Among Schoolchildren

                  In many belief systems, the confusion signals that we are going down the wrong path. Life is NOT supposed to be so complicated.

                  For example, based on the DSM, what is it if they have tics for 7 months? Well, 6 months is something, and 12 months is something else (TS) so where does that leave Sandra? It is quite simple actually:


                  Parents are taught to fear their own instincts and information. Doctors lose some credibility (and they hate that) when the Mom (gasp!) knows more about the kid than the medical doctor. Oh, pish posh. Self Help books teach us all that we absolutely can do nothing without spending US$14.95 on a book. Whatever.

                  Someone asked me just a couple of days ago why I thought they had OCD and ADHD. I told them the truth: my body reacts to them as if they are OCD and ADHD. Simple. And accurate, as far as I can tell. And I'm not the only one with the "Tourette Detector".

                  This is a serious story, no joke: I went to a party and while parking the car, I announced to my date that there were three (3) people with TS in the house. She called me on it, of course. We were not even in the driveway yet, and the curtains were drawn. I could not possibly have SEEN anyone in the house at that point. An hour later, my date came over to apologize - we had identified three people with motor and vocal tics at the party - besides me. Explain it? Simple - I could FEEL the tics, and my eyes are not the sensory organ for that information. The Tourette Detector is real. I just can't explain it, yet.

                  All right, something a little more prosaic: my daughter has Tourette's. How do I know this, when she only started having vocal tics last week? Well, genetically she's a shoe-in for TS+. She has had moderate OCD since she was 2 - she sorted crayons by color. And, most compellingly, I KNEW it was TS. I'm her Dad, after all.

                  I have to end on a silly note, sorry. I started to create a fake radio program for TS+. I made my own commercial spots. In one of them, I announced that my next visitor on the show was Dr. Oliver Sacks, who was going to discuss why he thought EVERYONE had Tourette's. :-)
                  Darin M. Bush, The Tourette Tiger, author of "Tiger Trails"


                  • #10
                    Study: Prevalence of Tics Among Schoolchildren

                    Hi all

                    My response is to related back to Steve's original question: are you surprised?

                    I'm not surprised by those findings.... From my experience, people who tic don't often go to the doctor about it, so I can imagine it's undiagnosed.
                    I have to agree. I went undiagnosed for many, many years because my TS did not have a huge impact on my life ie with school and friends as a child... TS definitely impacted me as an adult. Anyway, when I took my son to the doctor it was because of the ADHD not the tics. I saw the tics but like many who were/are not "aware" of TS, I saw the tics as "habits" or idiosyncrasies. So if my oldest had not been so hyper, he may not have been diagnosed... then I would not have been nor my second son, and so on and so on...

                    Side note: I'm certainly glad we were though, cause I have lots of new friends all over the country.

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