Volume 26, Issue 6 p. 1149-1156

Tourette syndrome: Evolving concepts§

Joseph Jankovic MD

Corresponding Author

Joseph Jankovic MD

Parkinson's Disease Center and Movement Disorders Clinic, Department of Neurology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, USA

Professor of Neurology, Distinguished Chair in Movement Disorders, Director of Parkinson's Disease Center and Movement Disorders Clinic, Department of Neurology, Baylor College of Medicine, 6550 Fannin, Suite 1801, Houston, TX 77030, USASearch for more papers by this author
Roger Kurlan MD

Roger Kurlan MD

Movement Disorders Program. Atlantic Neuroscience Institute, Overlook Hospital, Summit, New Jersey, USA

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First published: 11 April 2011
Citations: 148

Relevant conflicts of interest/financial disclosures: Nothing to report.

Dr. Jankovic received research Support from: Allergan, Inc; Allon Therapeutics; Ceregene, Inc; Chelsea Therapeutics; Diana Helis Henry Medical Research Foundation; EMD Serono; Huntington's Disease Society of America; Huntington Study Group; Impax Pharmaceuticals; Ipsen Limited; Lundbeck Inc; Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson Research; Medtronic; Merz Pharmaceuticals; National Institutes of Health; National Parkinson Foundation; Neurogen; St. Jude Medical; Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd; University of Rochester; Parkinson Study Group.


Full financial disclosures and author roles may be found in the online version of this article.


Tourette syndrome is a common childhood-onset neurobehavioral disorder characterized by multiple motor and phonic tics affecting boys more frequently than girls. Premonitory sensory urges prior to tic execution are common, and this phenomenon helps to distinguish tics from other hyperkinetic movement disorders. Tourette syndrome is commonly associated with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, learning difficulties, and impulse control disorder. The pathophysiology of this complex disorder is not well understood. Involvement of basal ganglia–related circuits and dopaminergic system has been suggested by various imaging and postmortem studies. Although it is considered a genetic disorder, possibly modified by environmental factors, an intense search has thus far failed to find causative genes. Symptomatic treatment of tics chiefly utilizes various alpha adrenergic agonists, antidopaminergic drugs, topiramate, botulinum toxin, and deep brain stimulation. Habit reversal therapy and other behavioral approaches may be a reasonable option for some cases. Improved understanding of Tourette syndrome should lead to better symptomatic and more effective pathogenesis-targeted therapies. © 2011 Movement Disorder Society