Neurofeedback help with Tourette’s

syndrome?

Case studies suggest that Neurofeedback can be helpful with Tourette’s syndrome (TS).

A 2011  study: After a total of 22 sessions of Neurofeedback, a 17 year old male with TS showed a reduction of tics and affective symptoms, and improvement of cognitive performance after training.

Here is a description of young boy who felt much better after Neurofeedback training. The tics have been reduced to less than 50% of what they were before, and are now mainly seen when he is under stress. The family climate is now much like in any other family with teenagers, and his mother describes a relaxed atmosphere at home.

What is Tourette’s syndrome?

It is a neurological condition which is combined with involuntary noises and movements called tics.

It usually starts in childhood and continues into adulthood. In many cases Tourette’s syndrome can be associated with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) or ADHD.

Tourrette's Brain DifferencesScientists at Washington University School of Medicine have identified significant differences in brain regions (displayed in green) between adolescents with and without Tourette Syndrome. Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2011-01-children-tourette-syndrome.html#jCp

If someone has tics, it doesn’t mean that this person has  Tourette’s syndrome. Tics have to be present for at least one year to be classified as Tourette’s syndrome and at least one of tics has to be vocal.

 

Tics can be:

  • vocal (sounds)– e.g. blowing, grunting, coughing or shouting out words
  • physical (movements)– e.g. jerking of the head, twisting the neck, rolling the eyes

Tics can be worse during periods of: stress, tiredness, anxiety, illness, nervous excitement

Neurofeedback and Tourette’s syndrome

Neurofeedback training is a self-regulation strategy. The brain is trained at the point where the tics are to reduce or eliminate them. In a brain with TS there is over-arousal. There is a high degree of excitability of the motor system. The overarching need is for this brain to experience calming, both in general and specifically in regard to motor circuits. When such calming is achieved tics (motor and vocal) may be reduced.