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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What causes Tourette’s syndrome?

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  • 2

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    Jennifer Grant

    Psychologist

    New practice opened Feb 2018. Seewebsite www.coffspsychneuro.com.au I'm passionate about working with people from all walks of life to help them create a more vital, … View Profile

    In asking this question, you’ve possibly already done your internet/ google research. If so, you may have read the US National Institute of Neurological Disorders & Stroke “Tourette Syndrome Fact Sheet”. They say “Although the cause of TS is unknown, current research points to abnormalities in certain brain regions (including the basal ganglia, frontal lobes, and cortex), the circuits that interconnect these regions, and the neurotransmitters (dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine) responsible for communication among nerve cells. Given the often complex presentation of TS, the cause of the disorder is likely to be equally complex.”
    The really important point is that Tourette’s is incredibly variable in its presentation. Tics vary from muscular to vocal to self-harming behaviours. Tics come and go over time, are influenced by stress and anxiety. Frequency, location and severity vary.
    My purpose in responding to your question is to share the amazing work being done by Duncan McKinlay in Canada. Duncan is a psychologist with Tourette’s who runs a clinic for children & adolescents who have Tourette’s. His article “Oh What A Tangled (Neural) Web We Weave: A First-Person Account of Tourette Syndrome” published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology Practice in 2010 is both informative and heart-touching. There’s a 70min video “The CPRI Brake Shop presents: Leaky Brakes – what they are, what they aren’t” about the work he’s doing in his clinic. Incredibly inspirational and moving, a must watch for anyone who knows anyone with Tourette’s. (YouTube has a taster).

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