Tourette syndrome in children: an updated review

Pediatr Neonatol. 2010 Oct;51(5):255-64. doi: 10.1016/S1875-9572(10)60050-2.


Tourette syndrome (TS) is a common neuropsychiatric disorder in children characterized by multiple motor and vocal tics that fluctuate in severity and lasting for at least 1 year. Boys are more commonly affected than girls. Symptoms usually begin with simple motor or vocal tics which then evolve into more complex motor and vocal tics over time. Premonitory sensory urges are common in children over the age of 8 years, and these urges help distinguish tics from symptoms of other movement disorders. Common comorbidities of TS include attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and learning difficulties. Several genes have been assessed as candidate genes for TS; environmental factors such as stress and streptococcal infections might also contribute to its etiology. The pathophysiology of TS mainly involves dysfunction of basal ganglia-related circuits and hyperactive dopaminergic innervations. A thorough history assessment and neurological examination are important for the correct diagnosis and differentiation from other movement disorders. Treatment for TS should focus on improving the patient's social functioning, minimizing the impairment from cormobid disorders, and controlling tics, if they are severe. Commonly used medications for TS include a2-adrenergic agonists and atypical neuroleptics. Habit reversal therapy is an effective option for TS, and repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation may be a promising approach for severe cases.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Comorbidity
  • Epigenesis, Genetic
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Tourette Syndrome* / diagnosis
  • Tourette Syndrome* / etiology
  • Tourette Syndrome* / genetics
  • Tourette Syndrome* / therapy