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What is syndrome, what are its symptoms?

What is syndrome, what are its symptoms?

The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention defines Tourette’s Syndrome (TS) as a condition of the nervous system. It causes people to have “tics” – sudden twitches, movements, or sounds that people make repeatedly

File image of Billie Eilish.

In an interview with David Letterman for his Netflix show My Next Guest Needs No Introduction, singer Billie Eilish spoke of dealing with Tourette’s syndrome.

As per CNN,  Eilish, who was diagnosed at the age of 11 with the neurological disorder, said people sometimes misunderstand what is happening.

“The most common way that people react is they laugh because they think I’m trying to be funny,” she said. “And I’m always left incredibly offended by that.”

The singer, who at age 18 became the youngest person to win all four top Grammy Awards – new artist, album, record and song of the year in 2020 – said that while some of her tics have subsided, she still has some subtle ones.

“These are things you would never notice if you’re just having a conversation with me,” Eilish said, as per CNN. “But for me they’re very exhausting.”

What is it?

The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention defines Tourette’s Syndrome (TS) as a condition of the nervous system. It causes people to have “tics” – sudden twitches, movements, or sounds that people make repeatedly.

People who have tics cannot stop their body from doing these things. For example, a person might keep blinking over and over or might make a grunting sound unwillingly.

How is it diagnosed?

Unfortunately, no test to diagnose Tourette’s syndrome exists. The assessment is based on the patient’s history and symptoms.

  • The criteria used to diagnose Tourette syndrome include:
  • Motor tics and vocal tics, though not necessarily at the same time
  • Tics occur several times a day, nearly every day or intermittently, for more than a year
  • Tics begin before age 18
  • Tics aren’t caused by medications, other substances or another medical condition
  • Tics must change over time in location, frequency, type, complexity or severity.
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How is it treated?

There’s no cure for Tourette’s syndrome.

The treatment – which can range from a slew of pharmaceutical interventions to several different types of therapy – is focussed on controlling tics to help increase every day quality of life.

How many people have it?

Eilish is far from the only one diagnosed with the syndrome.

According to the American Brain Foundation, about 200,000 people in the United States exhibit severe symptoms of Tourette’s syndrome with as many as 1 in 100 people in the United States showing milder symptoms.

‘Really love answering questions about it’

As per The News, the topic came up after Eilish turned her head and opened her mouth, to which Letterman asked if she’d seen a fly.

“No I’m ticcing,” she replied, adding that the lights had triggered her tics.

“If you film me for long enough, you’re going to see lots of tics. I don’t care. It’s really weird, I haven’t talked about it at all.”

“I really love answering questions about it, because it’s very, very interesting. And I am incredibly confused by it. I don’t get it,” she added, as per the report.

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