A controlled study of Tourette syndrome. VI. Early development, sleep problems, allergies, and handedness

Am J Hum Genet. 1987 Nov;41(5):822-38.


Developmental milestones, problems with bladder and bowel control, sleep disturbances, allergies, and handedness were compared in 247 consecutive Tourette syndrome (TS) patients, 17 patients with attention-deficit disorder (ADD), 15 patients with ADD secondary to TS (ADD 2(0) TS), and 47 random controls. There were no significant differences in age of first talking or walking. By contrast, there were significant differences in problems with bladder and bowel control between TS patients and controls, as measured by age of first toilet training, age of last bed-wetting, frequency of enuresis, and age that bowel control was achieved. Sleep problems were pervasive in TS patients, with a significantly increased frequency of sleepwalking, night terrors, trouble getting to sleep, early awakening, and inability to take afternoon naps as a young child. In all diagnostic categories, including mild (grade 1) TS patients, a total sleep-problem score was significantly greater than that in controls. The sleep disorders and other TS symptoms are consistent with TS as a disorder of disinhibition of the limbic system. Allergies and left-handedness have been evoked as contributing to or being associated with ADD and learning disorders. There were no significant differences in the frequency of allergies or left-handedness in TS patients compared with that in controls. We conclude that when there is a clearly defined genetic cause of ADD and learning disorders, it is not associated with an increased frequency of allergies or left-handedness.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / physiopathology
  • Child
  • Child Development*
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality*
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity / etiology*
  • Male
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / etiology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tourette Syndrome / complications
  • Tourette Syndrome / genetics
  • Tourette Syndrome / physiopathology*