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Children's Mercy designated as a Center of Excellence by the Tourette Association of America

One in 100 people has some form of Tourette Syndrome or TS, a neurological disorder characterized by repetitive, stereotyped, involuntary movements and vocalizations called tics. It is estimated 200,000 Americans have the most severe form of TS, and as many as one in 100 exhibits milder and less complex symptoms, such as chronic motor or vocal tics. TS usually sets in during childhood, affecting mostly boys of all ethnic groups.

At Children's Mercy, pediatric neurologist Dr. Keith Coffman is Director of the Tourette Association of America Center for Excellence. He says although the cause of the disorder isn't known, a lot of advances have been made. Coffman notes there's no magic pill for TS, so each patient is treated individually for their symptoms.

"Taking more of a 'whole person' approach first and thinking about everything that can affect the child has really improved the quality of care, and therefore the effectiveness of care," says Coffman.

Children's Mercy was designated as a Center of Excellence by the Tourette Association of America, one of only eight facilities in the U.S. to receive the designation. Dr. Bob Batterson, on the hospital's Developmental and Behavioral Sciences staff, says in the past Tourette was thought to only cause people to make involuntary movements and sounds, but now they know it can lead to other, more debilitating conditions.

"Statistics have shown that 85 percent of people with Tourette have a mental health condition, and somewhere around half of those people have at least two," Batterson explains. "A large number of people with Tourette have an obsessive compulsive disorder and ADHD as well. But depression is also common, and we have to wonder if some of that is that psychological impact." 

Read the full story via Public News Service.

Learn more about Children's Mercy's Division of Pediatric Neurology.

Learn more about the Division of Developmental and Behavioral Sciences at Children's Mercy.