- Singer Lewis Capaldi reveals he’s been diagnosed with ‘painful’ Tourette’s
- Medication, therapy and botox jabs for muscles are the current treatments on offer.
- But experts hope that a smartwatch device that weakens tics could be rolled out
Experts believe a smartwatch-like device may soon help reduce tics to the brain for Tourette’s patients.
The gadget, developed by UK researchers, sends an electric current through the wrist to the parts of the brain responsible for generating involuntary movements.
The technology is under trial and scientists say it could be introduced to patients in ‘a couple of years’.
He hopes that the condition suffered by hundreds of thousands of people around the world may prove treatable in the ‘distant future’.
Singer Louise Capaldi revealed this week that he was diagnosed with a ‘painful’ and ‘uncomfortable’ neurological condition that caused When he is ‘excited, happy, nervous or stressed’ his shoulder starts twitching.
However, the Scottish musician, 25, said his tic is ‘not as bad as it looks’ and has received botox injections to freeze his muscles, in the hope that it will help.
While the jabs can offer temporary relief from involuntary muscle movements for up to three months, doctors hope the smartwatch will offer a long-term solution for patients.
The clock-like device is now giving Tourette’s victims hope that they can get rid of their uncontrollable tics. The gadget, which looks like an Apple Watch or Fitbit, sends electrical pulses to the median nerve of the wrist and triggers electrical brain activity that suppresses movement. Some 135 participants in the UK are now testing prototypes of the device (pictured)
What is Tourette?
Tourette’s causes people to make involuntary movements and sounds — called tics — without meaning to.
Physical tics can include jerking, blinking, and jumping. They usually do not harm health, but twitching can be painful and worsen due to stress, anxiety, or fatigue.
Grunting, throat clearing and whistling are examples of vocal tics. About one in 10 patients swear because of the condition.
Tourette’s is thought to affect 300,000 Britons and more than half a million Americans, most of whom are children.
The condition usually begins during childhood, between the ages of two and 14, before improving within years. Sometimes it goes away completely.
There is no cure for the syndrome but treatments – such as therapy and medications – can help manage symptoms.
The most commonly recognized tic suffered by Tourette’s patients is swearing.
But it can also cause a variety of physical tics, including jerking, blinking, and jumping.
They usually do not harm health – although twitching can be painful – but tics can get worse due to stress, anxiety, or fatigue.
More than 300,000 Britons are known to suffer from Tourette’s but experts believe the true figure is much higher. Millions of Americans suffer from this condition. Most of those affected are children.
The condition usually begins in childhood, between the ages of two and 14. Half of sufferers say their symptoms improve with age, while for others it goes away completely.
There is currently no cure for the syndrome but treatments – such as therapy and medications – can help manage symptoms.
But a watch-like device is now giving patients hope that they can get rid of their uncontrollable tics.
The gadget, which looks like an Apple Watch or Fitbit, interferes with the brain networks that are involved in generating tics.
It sends electrical pulses to the median nerve of the wrist, which disrupts the activity in the brain that causes tics.
Tests showed that those wearing the device on the wrist saw the frequency and severity of their tics significantly reduced.
Around 135 participants in the UK are now testing a prototype of the device, which they wear for 15 minutes daily for a month, and reporting its effects.
Professor Stephen Jackson, a Tourette researcher at the University of Nottingham who is leading the trial, said: ‘This is an important step towards realizing our goal of making a commercial product available to the TS community within a few years.’
Professor Hugo Critchley, a psychiatrist at Brighton and Sussex Medical School and Tourette’s specialist, told MailOnline that this new approach is ‘very promising’ and offers victims ‘great hope for the future’.
Until now, psychological treatment and deep brain stimulation — implanting electrodes into brain networks — were the most effective options. But neither are available to most victims.
Dr Andrea Cavana, a neuropsychiatrist at the University of Birmingham, told MailOnline that ‘the increasing pace of research progress makes it possible that this condition will be treatable in the not-too-distant future’.
Meanwhile, he explained that the ‘mainstay’ of Tourette’s treatment are medications.
Neuroleptics are the main type of medication used, which alters the effects of chemicals in the brain involved in movement. But clonidine, clozepam, and tetrabenzene work to reduce tics and get them out.
Louise Capaldi has revealed that he suffers from Tourette’s syndrome (pictured Wednesday at global offices in London)
Dr Isobel Heyman, a consultant psychiatrist and has worked at Great Ormond Street Hospital, said on top of new approaches to the management of Tourette’s, therapy and training to resist tics ‘may really help some people. ‘.
But he said there was a shortage of staff to do so and called for better outreach across the country.
Mr Capaldi received botox to manage his tics, which Professor Critchley said could be ‘very helpful’.
He explained: ‘Botox acts by weakening the muscles – acting on how nerves signal the muscles to contract.
‘Most botox is used medically, [such as] for muscle cramps [or] Paralysis in various medical conditions.
‘For the effect of botox treatment…
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