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Tourette’s syndrome and its borderland
  1. Jeremy S Stern
  1. Correspondence to Dr Jeremy S Stern, Department of Neurology, St George’s University of London, London SW17 0RE, UK; jestern{at}


The Gilles de la Tourette syndrome (or Tourette’s syndrome) has a prevalence of 1% of children with a wide range of severity and associated comorbidities. The last 20 years have seen advances in the understanding of the syndrome’s complex genetics and underlying neurobiology. Investigation with imaging and neurophysiology techniques indicate it is a neurodevelopmental condition with dysfunction of basal ganglia–cortical interactions, which are now also being studied in animal models. There is also increasing evidence for treatments although it often remains difficult to manage. First-line options include neuroleptics, other drugs and specialised behavioural treatments. Deep brain stimulation is an evolving field, not yet fully established. This review focuses on the phenomenology of tics, how to assess and manage the syndrome, and uses examples of atypical cases to explore the characteristics and limits of its clinical spectrum.

  • gilles de la tourette
  • paediatric neurology
  • neuropsychiatry
  • movement disorders

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  • Funding This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned. Externally peer reviewed. This paper was reviewed by Andrew Lees, London, UK; Huw Morris, London, UK; and Donald Grosset, Glasgow, UK.

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