Home > Mental health > News 23 December 2013 New hope for Tourette syndrome sufferers Are non-drug treatments for telltale tics in tourette sufferers on the cards? 0 iStock Related Tourette's syndrome Behaviour therapy dampens Tourette tics 1 in 333 kids have Tourette Ask CyberShrink » Talk Heart to heart forum » 13 hidden signs of stress Regenerative medicine: replacing brain cells lost from stroke New insight into what causes the uncontrolled movement and noises - (tics) in people with Tourette syndrome - may lead to new non-drug treatments for the disorder, a new study suggests.These tics appear to be caused by defective wiring in the brain that results in "hyper-excitability" in the regions that control motor function, according to the researchers at the University of Nottingham in England."This new study is very important as it indicates that motor and vocal tics in children may be controlled by brain changes that alter the excitability of brain cells ahead of voluntary movements," Stephen Jackson, a professor in the school of psychology, said in a news release. "You can think of this as a bit like turning the volume down on an over-loud motor system. This is important as it suggests a mechanism that might lead to an effective non-pharmacological therapy for Tourette syndrome."Facts about Tourette syndrome Tourette syndrome affects about one in 100 children and usually beings in early childhood. During adolescence, because of structural and functional brain changes, about one-third of children with Tourette syndrome will lose their tics and another third will get better at controlling their tics.However, the remaining one-third of youngsters will have little or no change in their tics and will continue to have them into adulthood, the investigators explained.Throat-clearing and blinking are common tics. Some people with Tourette syndrome repeat words, spin or, rarely, blurt out swear words, which can cause social problems.What does the study suggest?For this study, published online in the Journal of Neuropsychology, the researchers compared the brains of people with Tourette syndrome to those without the disorder and found that those with Tourette were less able to control hyperactivity in the brain.This suggests that there are mechanisms in the brain that help control tics and that they undergo development or re-organization during the teens.Non-drug treatments may include certain forms of brain stimulation to control brain hyperactivity, the researchers said.What are the non-drug options?According to an article in the International Journal of Cognitive Therapy, one option would be cognitive behavioural therapy. Read more about behavioural therapy and tourette syndromeThe Tourette Syndrom Association in New York suggests a programme called Comprehensive Behavioural Intervention Cannabis (marijuana) therapy, using its main active ingredient THC, can be effective in treating tics in the short term without side effects, but more research is needed and the possibility of addiction is a drawback. Author Sheila Rogers' book Natural Treatments for Tics and Tourette’s takes a closer look at the environmental factors and underlying physical imbalances that trigger this condition's symptoms and explains how to treat it using natural and alternative therapies, from nutritional therapy, behavioral and counseling therapies, EEG biofeedback, and homeopathy to bodywork, energy medicine, and Chinese medicine. More informationWhat makes Tourette's tick?Self-hypnosis may help Tourette's NEXT ON HEALTH24X 'The plane is going to crash': Anxiety aboard flight SAA 323 2017-10-17 07:45 More: Mental healthNews advertisement Read Health24’s Comments Policy Comment on this story 0 comments Comments have been closed for this article. Logout Comment 0 characters remaining Share on Facebook Loading comments... Other news Medical Jada Pinkett Smith reveals hair-loss battle – why does this happen? Medical Baby with ‘water on the brain’ fights to stay alive Medical ‘Facing the possibility of death showed me the value of life’ Medical Could a universal flu vaccine soon be a reality? Diet and nutrition The world is getting fatter and fatter Lifestyle ‘I conquered my fear of heights by climbing to the top of a 15-metre high wall’ From our sponsors Win a R1 500 hamper with Alpecin Hypertension Consumer Fact Sheet Understanding diabetes self-management WIN a R2000 Skin Renewal voucher! Live healthier Mental health & your work » How open are you about mental illness in the workplace? Mental health in the workplace – what you can do to help If you know that one of your colleagues suffers from a mental illness, would you be able to help them at work? Maligay Govender offers some helpful mental health "first aid" tips. Sleep & You » Sleep vs. no sleep Diagnosis of insomnia 6 things that are sabotaging your sleep Kick these shut-eye killers to the kerb and make your whole life better – overnight.