Symptoms and Signs of Tourette's Syndrome

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Medically Reviewed on 3/11/2019

Doctor's Notes on Tourette's Syndrome

Tourette syndrome (TS) is a neurological disorder associated with characteristic signs and symptoms. It is characterized by repetitive, stereotyped, involuntary movements and vocalizations called tics. The exact cause of Tourette syndrome is not well understood. Many people with Tourette syndrome experience additional neurobehavioral conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or obsessive-compulsive symptoms.

The tics of Tourette syndrome are either simple or complex. Simple motor tics are sudden, brief, repetitive movements involving only a few muscle groups, such as eye blinking, head or shoulder jerking, or grimacing. Examples of simple vocal tics are repetitive throat-clearing, sniffing, or grunting sounds. Complex tics are coordinated patterns of movements involving several muscle groups, such as hopping or jumping. More complex vocal tics may include repetition of certain words or phrases.


Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.