Tourette Syndrome is a neurobiological condition that causes tics, or involuntary movements. It's thought to be caused by electrical misfiring in the brain, but as yet there is no cure. Medications to treat the disorder are often prescribed, but some patients can experience adverse side effects that are almost worse than the disease itself. It's common for children and younger patients are even harder to treat because they are still growing and their brain is still developing. Cognitive behavioral therapy can work with some patients, but in children, it's not as useful because they are just too young to really be able to understand and use CBT effectively.
At the University of Calgary, researchers are looking at transcranial magnetic stimulation (TCS) as a way to treat pediatric patients. It's non-invasive and doesn't produce side effects as medications can. With their program of magnetic stimulation, they hope to be able to "turn down" the area of the brain that is overactive and causing the tics. Researchers say the disorder is largely misunderstood and children are often made fun of or bullied because of how it impacts their lives.