Tourette syndrome; a childhood disorder

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The syndrome of multiple motor tics and involuntary vocalizations was delineated by Georges Gilles de la Tourette1 in 1885 when he described nine cases. One of these cases had previously been described by Itard2 in 1825. Only a few additional cases were published over the next 75 years, but an increasing number have been reported since the 1960s. Reasons for this increased reporting include (1) the discovery of an effective medical therapy; (2) the activities of a special interest group, the Tourette Syndrome Association; and (3) descriptions of this entity in the popular press which have led to self-referral of patients who have recognized the syndrome in themselves or in family members.3, 4 Along with the increasing number of patients with Tourette syndrome is the recognition that this is a disorder which invariably begins in childhood.5 This was true in Tourette’s initial series and has been confirmed in all subsequent reports.

We are reporting 12 cases of Tourette syndrome. Eleven of these patients were examined in a 1-year period at the Cleveland Clinic; ten were children and two were young adults whose symptoms dated back to childhood. The correct diagnosis had been made previously in only two cases, but three other patients sought medical attention because of self-diagnosis.

The 12 patients were between 9 and 24 years of age when first examined; 10 were between 8 and 15 years. Symptoms began in all patients before 10 years of age. The delay between onset of symptoms and correct diagnosis ranged from . . .



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