Causes and Risk Factors

Causes and Risk Factors of Tourette Syndrome

Tourette syndrome has a genetic component. However, genes are not a factor in all cases. It is an autosomal dominant disorder. This means that the gene for it is not on a sex (X or Y) chromosome. Only 1 copy of the gene needs to be present to pass it to a child. A parent with Tourette syndrome or the gene for it, has a 1 in 2 chance to pass the gene on to each of their children.

For roughly 1 in every 20 people with Tourette syndrome, there is no genetic factor. In this case there are other risk factors for Tourette syndrome.

Risk factors include:

  • Issues with brain chemicals, like neurotransmitters
  • Problems during pregnancy
  • Low birth weight
  • Head injury
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Inflammation of the brain (encephalitis)

People assigned male at birth are more likely to be affected than people assigned female at birth.

Symptoms may get worse between the ages of 8 and 12. Most people start to see their symptoms improve or end in their late teens.