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148,000 U.S. Children Have Tourette Syndrome

Many of these children also have another mental health or neurodevelopmental problem

FRIDAY, June 5 (HealthDay News) -- An estimated 148,000 U.S. children between the ages of 6 and 17 have Tourette syndrome, a prevalence of 3.0 in 1,000, according to a report in the June 5 U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Lawrence Scahill, Ph.D., of Yale University in New Haven, Conn., studied data from the 2007 National Survey of Children's Health, which included telephone interviews with 91,642 parents or guardians conducted in 2007 and 2008.

The research found Tourette syndrome was almost three times as likely for boys as girls, and twice as likely in the 12 to 17 age group as the 6 to 11 group. A Tourette syndrome diagnosis also was twice as likely in non-Hispanic whites as in Hispanics and non-Hispanic blacks. Seventy-nine percent of those diagnosed had at least one other mental health or neurodevelopmental problem: 64 percent ADHD, 43 percent behavioral or conduct problems, 40 percent anxiety, 36 percent depression, and 28 percent developmental delay.

"The survey-based prevalence estimate described in this report is based on parent report of a Tourette syndrome diagnosis. The detection and diagnosis of Tourette syndrome is less likely for children with limited access to specialty health care services. Thus, the observed survey-based prevalence of 3.0 per 1,000 likely is an underestimate of Tourette syndrome prevalence in children. Results from community-based studies that independently evaluate children for Tourette syndrome and do not rely on parent-reported diagnosis invariably identify cases that were previously not diagnosed," the authors conclude.

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