Treating Tourette Syndrome Without Drugs

(Ivanhoe Newswire) — A new study shows the use of cognitive-behavioral therapy to treat tics in patients with Tourette syndrome may be as effective as using medication in certain cases.

Tourette syndrome is a neuropsychiatric disorder characterized by motor and vocal tics that worsen during childhood and peak around age 11. It affects up to 3 percent of school-age children and can persist into adulthood.

For the study, the research team looked at one group of 10 adults with Tourette syndrome and another group of 14 adults with no neurological or psychiatric problems. Participants were asked to perform a series of tasks to stimulate specific regions in the brain. An electroencephalogram was recorded with each task.

After six months of therapy, the participants performed the same tests again. Results showed a significant reduction in tics. After the behavioral treatment, researchers also observed a quantifiable normalization of brain activity, which is linked to improvement of symptoms in Tourette syndrome.

“This discovery could have major repercussions on the treatment of this illness. In some cases, the physiological measures could allow for the improvement of the therapy in order to tailor it to a specific type of patient,” Dr. Marc Lavoie, certified researcher at Fernand-Seguin Research Centre of the Louis-H. Lafontaine Hospital and with the Psychiatry Department of Universit© de Montr©al, was quoted as saying.

SOURCE: International Journal of Cognitive Therapy, April 14, 2011

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