A study carried out in the General Hospital Yagüe de Burgos, which has been published in the journal Pediatric Neurology, has shown that, in Spain, one in six children (16.86%) have tics, a disorder characterized by the appearance of involuntary and repetitive movements or sounds.

Esther Cubo, the study's lead author, says that although tics, which are often hereditary and affect children more than girls, are very common disorders, they are almost always mild and lack functional repercussion.

The research has focused on a sample of 1158 schoolchildren in the province of Burgos to check the prevalence of tics although, according to the authors, the data obtained can be extrapolated to the rest of the Spanish population.

The study also revealed that 16.66% of school children had tics in ordinary schools and that this percentage increased to 20.37% when dealing with special education centers.

The researchers also analyzed the presence of some disorders related to tics, such as attention deficit disorder, and found that these fluctuate and increase when children are subjected to stress, as in the case of family problems or in the school environment. The most serious disorders detected were chronic motor tics, which affected 6.07% of the students and Tourette syndrome, with an incidence of 5.26%.

Over the years the tics may disappear or, at least, decrease in intensity and frequency

Epidemiological studies indicate that over the years the tics may disappear or, at least, decrease in intensity and frequency. Tics can also be symptoms of other conditions such as Tourette's syndrome, chronic phonic disorders, transient tics, or unspecified tics.

Experts estimate that the tics are due to the suppression of involuntary movement in the circuit between the basal ganglia and the motor cortex, and functional neuroimaging studies have shown that in people with tics certain areas of the brain are over-activated or not they adequately fulfill their function of eliminating these movements or involuntary sounds.


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