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What causes Tourette's?

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Old 05-24-2014, 02:48 PM   #1
CoolManMike
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Default What causes Tourette's?

My name is Michael and I have recently became a new member of this wonderful, endearing community. Like many of you, I have been searching for many answers on the internet and have spent countless hours downloading material and reading books on many different subjects. Some of these subjects include auto-immune conditions, autism spectrum disorders, SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth), leaky gut syndrome, nutrient deficiencies and ways to remediate many if not all symptoms of these conditions. I'm no expert by any means but what I have come across may relate to and even help you as it has myself.

I was diagnosed with Tourette's Syndrome when I was 7 years old. I would have many uncontrollable fits and my tic's would interfere with my day-to-day activities. Nonetheless, I tried my best in school and stayed on top of my grades. Luckily, my tourette's didn't effect my ability to learn (although I probably could have done much better without it). I even gave the top kids of my class a run for their money. As the years passed I learned to control my tics (to a certain extent) or at least directed my tics to other muscle groups so that they weren't so noticable.

Knowing what I know now could have definitely helped me out when I first became diagnosed. One thing that led up to my tourette's was many ear infections and most likely a strept throat infection. All these were tall-tale signs of infectious bacterial overgrowth throughout my entire body. This could have been due to the fact that my diet largely consisted of bread, cereal, milk, canned food, fast food, lunch meats, and the occasional meat and potatoes. What does this all mean? The foods I was eating was slowly causing damage to my intestinal tract which promoted leaky gut and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. This led to many infectious bacterial ear infections (which is technically a yeast infection) and more than likely aided in the overly-worked immune system which allowed for a strept infection.

What I have come across would suggest that Tourette's Syndrome (and any other Autism spectrum disorder) is caused by auto-immunity and nutrient defeciency. Auto-Immunity and nutrient defeciency is caused by not only lack of nutritious diet but the over-consumption of grains (breads, cereals and pastas), beans (contains tons of anti-nutrients that lead to the inflammation of the intestinal tract), legumes and any type of processed product on the shelves of our supermarkets of which include wheat, corn, soy and/or rice. This all leads to the potential of too many carbohydrates and fermentable fibers that more than likely promote the overgrowth in the small intestine and lead to more severe symptoms such as food allergies, leaky gut, auto-immunity and nutrient deficiencies.

What does this all mean? It means that, although hereditarily pre-disposed to Tourette's, it more than likely can be prevented and even sent back into full remission. Now, personally, I'm still showing sign of tics but ever since I've become more focused on what I eat and avoiding unhealthy choices I have noticed a steadily decline of my tics throughout the day.

So, in all, what technically causes tourette's? Well, several factors that lead up to the over-sensitivity of dopamine in the brain which could be caused by encephalopathy (auto-immunity of the brain), which technically allows for brain degeneration. When this occurs, the neurotransmitters are unable to communicate correctly thus causing involuntary movements throughout the body. This, of course, is a theory of mine and is up for debate but figured I'd shared it here to see what you guys might think. Also, any and all input is more than welcome as we are all trying to find the answers to our dilemnas. Thanks for reading and Happy Memorial Weekend!
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Old 05-24-2014, 03:58 PM   #2
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Hi again Michael

One thing I have learned along the journey with my (now adult) son who has genetic TS is that there is no one piece of the puzzle that fits for all!

I notice you mention the many strep infections
Are you aware of the condition known as PANDAS aka PANS which is caused by strep? I know of a number of people who were misdiagnosed with Tourette when in fact that had PANDAS

here is some more info about it
http://pandasnetwork.org
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Old 05-24-2014, 05:16 PM   #3
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I've read up on PANDAS a little bit. From what I have gathered is that it's basically an auto-immune condition that develops after an infection. My thoughts on this are that once your gut becomes compromised, it leaves the immune system vulnerable to other bacteria and viruses, whether initially exposed to or actively hosting. This allows the exacerbation of the gut issues which lead into the lack of enzymes produced enabling undigested food to travel through and permeate the small intestine. This in turn causes the immune system flare-up and auto-immunity of the brain.

Since many of these conditions correlate directly with Strept Throat, maybe it could be that the bacteria, that the immune system works at fighting, may somehow resemble or mimic the molecular structure of the brain so ensues the auto-immunity of the brain. So anytime that the immune system flares up due to the leaky gut and undigested food particles permeating and entering the blood stream, the immune system, now having already produced auto-antibodies not only work at getting rid of the foreign invaders but still works on attacking the brain which furthers the degeneration and worsens the tics, along with many other conditions.

Still trying to wrap my mind around all of this but what are your thoughts?
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Old 05-24-2014, 08:08 PM   #4
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Hi Michael,
Good to meet you.

Gosh, it's such a complex thing.

There are many, many different reasons why a person can have tics, plus Tourette's Syndrome is just a name for a particular cluster of symptoms for diagnostic purposes that shows it is different from some of the other Tic Disorders.

Not all tics are related to TS. There are many, many causes of secondary tics or tourettism. This article below is almost 10 years old now, but it does talk about many of the other conditions where tics present as a symptom. Because it's older, there are a number of newer causes that have been found that are not in this particular article.
This is just an example I'm giving and is not comprehensive...

http://www.scielo.br/pdf/rbp/v27n1/23707.pdf
Rev Bras Psiquiatr. 2005 Mar;27(1):11-7. Epub 2005 Apr 18.
Secondary tics and tourettism.
Mejia NI, Jankovic J.

One interesting model that you may be interested in considering your line of thought is Sydenham's Chorea. Strep Throat (GABHS) can also cause Rheumatic Fever if untreated and if the person is genetically predisposed. One neurologic sequelae of Rheumatic Fever (again, only in some people) can be a movement disorder called Sydenham's Chorea. Where PANDAS tics can occur immediately with the GABHS infection, strangely the Chorea doesn't usually begin for weeks or even months after the original infection.

Anyway, it's food for thought.
Much to say, but too little time.
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Old 05-24-2014, 09:02 PM   #5
CoolManMike
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Very interesting read. I did not realize that there could be so many underlying factors that could promote and even perpetuate the onset of tics or tic-like behaviors.

As I was browsing this forum, I did come across another great read about the calling for an investigation into the TSA (Tourette's Syndrome Association) and how they've suppressed evidence of dietary and environmental factors playing a huge part in causing the symptoms associated with tourette's. My mother would always tell people not to smoke cigarettes around me because when they did, my tourette's would 'act' up. She also noticed that if I was exposed to a moldy environment that my tics would get worse. Also, when I ate anything with added sugar.

I am just trying to figure out, other than the fact that I am genetically susceptible to developing tourette's like symptoms, what initially may have caused the 'outbreak' and if there is a way to reverse and put into full remission the effects of this syndrome.

Now, I believe I understand that, as a society and the medical industry, we have compartmentalized many of these conditions and have sought after compartmentalized methods in order to treat this symptom or that. Being as the problem may have completely originated else where in the body causing for symptoms to appear in different ways in different people depending upon their individualized genetics. Looking at it this way, Tourette's along with many other 'conditions' could merely be symptoms of a larger problem that we are facing. So, instead of treating the tics, why not look at treating the whole body beginning with our environment and diet. Things around us or what we put in us could simply be the triggers that we need to eliminate to fix the underlying cause of all the symptoms that we may be experiencing.

Let me know if this makes sense. I'm having a bit of trouble piecing it all together and expressing it as my foggy brain is doing the best job that it can (did I mention that depression has also taken over my daily life since I was 17). That's a whole other issue though!
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Old 05-24-2014, 11:54 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CoolManMike View Post
Now, I believe I understand that, as a society and the medical industry, we have compartmentalized many of these conditions and have sought after compartmentalized methods in order to treat this symptom or that. Being as the problem may have completely originated else where in the body causing for symptoms to appear in different ways in different people depending upon their individualized genetics.
True, but the end result is a brain with faulty signals and a dysregulation of the dopamine receptors (amongst other things).

Sometimes, especially when there are more conditions present at the same time as tics, then it is necessary to compartmentalize.

Some people have many conditions at the same time. Asperger's Syndrome, Tourette's Syndrome or a Tic Disorder, OCD, ADHD, Depression, Anxiety etc.. They may also have asthma, migraines or allergies etc.. Then again they may not.

Effectively treating a comorbid condition that is impacting daily life (whether that be by more natural methods, or CBT or pharmaceuticals or meditation or yoga, or whatever), can lead to a reduction in tics.

It's a bit like 20 years ago when Tourette's Syndrome was seen by many doctors where we live as an umbrella diagnosis for a myriad of other conditions. (btw not everyone who has been diagnosed with TS has a comorbid condition). That was totally wrong and harmful as far as I'm concerned. TS involves tics by definition although there's that old blur between the obsessive compulsive behaviours and the tics of course.

Neuropsychiatry
Challenging Phenomenology in Tourette Syndrome and
Obsessive–Compulsive Disorder: The Benefits of Reductionism


Anton Scamvougeras, MBChB, FRCPC
Clinical Associate Professor, Adult Tourette Syndrome Clinic, Neuropsychiatry Unit, Department of Psychiatry, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CoolManMike View Post
Looking at it this way, Tourette's along with many other 'conditions' could merely be symptoms of a larger problem that we are facing. So, instead of treating the tics, why not look at treating the whole body beginning with our environment and diet. Things around us or what we put in us could simply be the triggers that we need to eliminate to fix the underlying cause of all the symptoms that we may be experiencing.
People have been doing that for years.
Again, it's complex.

e.g. say you find that swimming in a chlorinated pool for some reason exacerbates your tics... what do you do? You stop swimming?
What do you do if your tics act up when driving in the car? Do you stop driving the car?
What do you do if you find non-organic vegetables seem to make your tics worse? Do you spend more money which you probably need for something else, or you grow your own and then you still don't know what's already in the soil where you're planting your vegies.

It's the same for young children who don't have too much control over their tics in the classroom and just going to school feels as if it's like going into a war zone. Instead of staying away from the actual school setting, often all it needs is a knowledgeable and caring teacher who can adjust to the needs of the child thereby making the classroom a safe and secure environment in which to learn AND tic freely!

Don't get me started. I can perserverate about all these things till the end of time, but I don't suggest anyone else do that. Life is too short.

The world is a very hazardous place lol

Every person may find that something different triggers their tics. If you can get to the bottom of what is exacerbating your own tics, then that would be really good.

I do not believe that there is ONE thing that causes tics. I personally believe that TS is a name for a condition that will turn out in the end to have dozens of different causes. More probably.

The answer lies in finding what triggers or exacerbates your tics.

Chemar gave you some info. in the New Members area that might be helpful for you on your journey.

Last edited by Lara; 05-25-2014 at 12:20 AM.
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Old 05-29-2014, 12:05 AM   #7
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Default Metabolic Encephalopathy and Keto-Adaptation

Okay, so I've been doing a little more reading on this subject and having come to the conclusion that Tourette's is in fact an auto-immune condition since it is classified as neurological encephalopathy. This means that the immune system, in its war against any kind of foreign invader wreaks havoc on the integrity of the healthy brain cells. This could be caused by allergies, toxicities, leaky gut, anti-biotics, carb intolerance (which is what I am going to focus on), etc.

Now, considering the diet of the typical American, or that of any first world person, they may consume an upwards of 150 lbs of sugar per year whereas just 100 years ago it was 5 lbs of sugar per year. This drastic increase of processed carb intake has an unlimited consequence. It has caused an increase of diabetes, insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome (or syndrome X), gut dysbiosis (which leads to overgrowth of bad gut bacteria and leaky gut), auto-immune diseases and ultimately the big killers like cancer and heart disease.

So what I've planned to do is give the Ketogenic Diet a shot. I've read fascinating information about the medical applications of being in a prolonged state of ketosis. It can be used to manage epilepsy, autism, depression, tourettes, alzheimers, dementia, leaky gut and many other potential diseases.

As I have mentioned before, I have been suffering from depression since I was 17, but was diagnosed with tourette's when I was 7. Up to the 3-4 years leading up to falling into my personal great depression, I suffered from horrible acne (which was my immune system doing its job at trying to kick out as many toxins out of my body that it could). It was about 6-8 months prior to my depression that my acne literally began to completely clear up. This would seem like a good thing but now looking back at it, this was a tall-tale sign that my immune system had finally gave up and broke down to the point that it could not rid my body of all the toxins that I was subjecting it to. Unfortunately, I was only a naive teenager and continued about my soda pop drinking fast foodie habits and wreaked total havoc on my body which eventually lead up to a horrible case of insulin sensitivity that created a toxic environment, not only in my body, but also in my brain (also known as type 3 diabetes) and what ensued would be the decline of the cognitive function of my brain.

This is known as metabolic encephalopathy (or dementia) and can simply be put into remission, if not completely reversed, by applying the methods set forth by few doctors of the past through a ketogenic diet. This means drastically cutting out not only all processed carbs but minimizing all carb intake to less than 50 grams per day. My goal is to actually shoot below 25 grams of carbs per day since I've suffered this for nearly 10 years now and had only been getting worse.

So, you may be asking, if this might in fact hold any weight? Well, I'm personally going to find out and I'm actually on day number 2 of my attempt to become fully keto-adapted. Yesterday I ate 0 carbs and today it has ended up to around 10 grams of carbs and to be honest, I feel like I'm in the twilight zone but only because my body is in the middle of switching over from burning carbs for energy to burning fat. This process of switching over completely may take anywhere from 2-3 weeks if not longer, depending on your individual genes. Suffice it to say, in the last couple days, I have literally only experienced about 10% of the tics that I would normally experience throughout any typical day. Even at this very moment, as with any other, I am literally focused on my usual tics and have not the slightest urge to acting upon them. Usually, if I think about any of my tics, I have the strongest urge to act upon them and even though I've gain somewhat control over the course of my lifetime, I still can't make that urge go away unless I do act upon them. So, just this right here, in this moment is phenomenal!

Now, I'm not saying that this is a full-proof method of alleviating any or all causes of tourettes, but it sure might help many others out there looking for some 'relief' from their symptoms. Also, let's not forget about the many other applications that this might help with like for example my depression. I feel as though, just in these last couple days, that a veil is being lifted from my mind, so to speak, and my thoughts and my mind are becoming clearer. It really is amazing stuff, considering this is just day # 2. I, personally, cannot wait to become fully keto-adapted because I am more than anxious to see, feel and experience the results of it.

I will keep you guys up to date throughout the next few weeks and hope to encourage others to try it so that we may compare results and see where this may take us.
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Old 05-29-2014, 06:46 AM   #8
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Mike
it's great that you are researching and trying methods like this to help with your tics and depression. Low carb diets are often associated with increased depression due to lowering of serotonin when there are insufficient carbs in the diet.

Just a word of caution....saying "Tourette's IS..... x y z" is a slippery slope.....once you get to know a cross section of people dx with TS you realize the syndrome is as variable as those who have it, and that many people who have been dx with it actually have other tic disorders caused by a whole range of variable things....

Both TS itself (which does seem to have a genetic component) and the numerous tic disorders are complex issues!

Hoping that for you, the dietary modifications are what is needed!
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