Most of the people suffering from Tourette syndrome are also believed to simultaneously suffer from another co-occurring disorder as well. The most frequently co-occurring disorder in such patients is said to be attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. However, apparently the relationship between these two disorders is not very clear yet. This association was also analyzed by the experts from the University of Calgary and the University of Toronto.
Tourette syndrome is said to be an inherited neuro-psychiatric disorder. This disorder is believed to be characterized by the occurrence of motor and vocal tics, which constitute of quick, meaningless, repetitive sounds or movements. This disorder is estimated to affect around 1 in 100 people. It was further stated that, because its symptoms are usually mild, the affected person may not seek medical help for this disorder. On the other hand, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is said to be a neuro-behavioral developmental disorder. This disorder is believed to be characterized by inattention and impulsiveness in an individual.
For the purpose of better understanding the connection between Tourette syndrome and ADHD, the experts evaluated around 400 children suffering from Tourette syndrome. These children were said to either be with or without ADHD. It was noted that though both these disorders had major genetic component, there were certain factors which determined their co-occurrence in a patient suffering from Tourette syndrome.
Study lead author, Dr. Tamara Pringsheim, Director, Calgary Tourette Syndrome Clinic, says that, “We know that perinatal stress is a risk factor for ADHD alone. If you were low birth weight, if your mother smoked during pregnancy, or if you were born prematurely, all these things increase the risk of ADHD.”
The study investigators evaluated and tallied the rate of perinatal risk factors in both the group of study subjects. It was observed that the children who were exposed to certain perinatal factors had an increased chance of suffering from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, along with Tourette syndrome. Thus, these findings indicate that such factors may have a role to play in the simultaneous development of these two disorders.
The study investigators state that these findings could prove to be helpful for those people who may genetically stand a greater chance of developing the Tourette syndrome. These people may need to keep certain things in mind while planning on conceiving children; like avoiding smoking, attempting to maintain a healthy weight for the infant and also getting suitable medical attention and care.
These findings have been published in the edition of the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics.