Earlier today I met someone who had vocal and motor tics, but who didn’t have Tourettes. These tics were apparently caused by his medication. This made me curious, so I’ve just looked it up online.
I discovered it’s called Tourettism, a set of symptoms virtually identical to Tourettes but with a different cause.
Although the exact cause of Tourettes isn’t known, it’s thought to be an inherited neurological condition affecting a bit of the brain called the basal ganglia. Tourettism appears to be located in the same region but can result from a wide range of conditions including brain injury, dementia, carbon monoxide poisoning or, as in the person I met today, as a side effect of medication.
It’s interesting that Tourettes-like tics occur as part of other conditions that affect the brain. It’s made me feel hopeful that research into these may also improve the understanding and treatment of Tourettes.