Directed by Joseph Jankovic, M.D., professor of neurology, the Tourette Syndrome Center is committed to providing the most expert and compassionate care for patients with TS. The clinical staff includes skilled neurologists and specialists in movement disorders, neuropsychologists, clinical psychologists, therapists, and educational specialists. These professionals provide comprehensive evaluation and treatment services specifically designed to address the unique needs of each patient.
The TSC is also committed to conducting research into the cause and treatment of TS and other childhood movement disorders, and patients are invited to participate in a broad range of clinical trials. TSC also provides a setting for the training of clinician-scientists and for educational programs directed to scientists, physicians, health professionals, patients and their families, and the community at large. Finally, the TSC partners with the national and local Tourette Syndrome Association and provides advocacy for patients with TS.
Located on the 9th floor of the Baylor College of Medicine Medical Center McNair Campus at 7200 Cambridge St., the TSC is a joint project between Baylor College of Medicine and the Learning Support Center at Texas Children's Hospital.
- Medical and neurological evaluation and treatment
- Psychological assessment
- Individual, group, and family psychotherapy
- Neuropsychological and educational testing
- Academic planning, intervention, and advocacy
- Parent support and training
- Social skills training
Tourette syndrome (TS) is a neurological disorder characterized by motor and vocal tics. Tics are abrupt, rapid, brief, repetitive behaviors that may resemble aspects of normal behavior, except in their intensity, frequency, and timing. Examples of common motor tics include eye blinking, eye deviation, facial grimacing, neck popping, head jerking, and shoulder shrugging. Tics may also cause noise or sound as air is forced through the nose and throat ("vocal" or "phonic" tics). Sniffing, coughing, grunting, guttural maneuvers, inhaling, shrieking, sniffing, and squealing are among the most common phonic tics. Some tics are described as "complex" and may involve the integration of learned, sequenced movements (e.g. touching, tapping, jumping, gestures) or complex vocalizations (e.g. repeating a syllable, word, or phrase). An example of a complex vocal tic is shouting of profanities or obscenities, so called coprolalia, but this is actually present in less than a third of all patients. TS is often accompanied by obsessive-compulsive disorder, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder, poor impulse control, and other behavioral problems.
TS typically begins in childhood and can vary between patients, with symptoms ranging from mild to disabling. Also, people with TS often find that their own symptoms fluctuate in severity and frequency over the course of their childhood. Tics can often be suppressed for periods of time, but this may cause discomfort and fatigue. Many patients "grow out of it" and are free of tics by their late teens or early twenties.