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None of the Tourette's syndrome treatments has been reliably effective. Fortunately, two dentists named Anthony Sims and Brendan Stack seem to have uncovered both the origins and an effective non-pharmaceutical, non-surgical treatment for the disease.
Dr. Brendan Stack Reports Remission from Tourette's Symptoms without Drugs or SurgeryTourette's syndrome is a surprisingly common condition of uncontrollable and repetitive muscular movements and vocal utterances that often begin in childhood. These nonrhythmic, involuntary events known as "tics" include blinking, shrugging, coughing, sniffing, and stretching the neck, as well as cursing, repeating socially unacceptable terms such the "N word," and repeating nonsense syllables. Uncontrollable cursing, also known as coprolalia, only occurs in about 10 per cent of people who have Tourette's. Motor (muscle) and verbal tics are not concurrent, they occur multiple times per day, and there is seldom a period of remission from the condition for more than a few hours to a few days.
The symptoms of Tourette's begin in childhood and usually diminish in frequency through adolescence and into adulthood. There is no "typical case" of Tourette's syndrome, but many people who have Tourette's also have anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Growing up with the condition exposes the child to intense social pressures from both peers and adults, but many people with Tourette's mature into successful adults with responsible careers.
Many people who have Tourette's syndrome find it difficult to complete a conversation or finish a thought because of the constant interruption of verbal or muscular tics. Some are able to suppress their symptoms until the pressure builds up and the "energy" simply has to be let out. Suppressing symptoms too long can result in an explosion of symptoms, and it may be necessary to find a place to be alone to release their symptoms. Tourette's syndrome symptoms can even occur during sleep, and they are worse during stress.
When Dr. Giles de la Tourette first published "Study of a Nervous Affliction" in 1885, Tourette's syndrome was considered a bizarre psychological condition. In the first half of the twentieth century, Tourette's was treated by psychoanalysis, usually by psychiatrists with a Freudian orientation, assuming that the disease was the result of psychosexual fixations in early childhood.
Freudian psychiatry fell out of favor, and the mainstream treatment for Tourette's became pharmaceutical. Tranquilizers, antihallucinogenic drugs, sedatives, and even Botox were tried for controlling symptoms. Doses of medication strong enough to stop the tics typically debilitated the patient.
In the early 2000's, researchers began investigating a PANDAS theory of the origins of Tourette's, the acronym standing for pediatric autoimmune neurological disorder associated with Streptococcus. Strep throat and strep infections of the ear were thought to trigger an autoimmune reaction in the brain that would cause dysfunctions of the frontal cortex, thalamus, and/or the basal ganglia in the brain. Surgeons then tried implanting devices to provide electrical stimulation to these parts of the brain as a surgical therapy for Tourette's.
But none of these treatments has been reliably effective, or even generally helpful, and none of the theories of the origins of Tourette's has stood up to repeated testing. Fortunately, two dentists named Anthony Sims and Brendan Stack seem to have uncovered both the origins and an effective non-pharmaceutical, non-surgical treatment for the disease.