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The Chemistry of Tourette Syndrome


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I posted this on another thread here too, but decided to give it its own thread as many may not see it where it was, and because it contains very interesting information about the chemistry believed to be associated with Tourette Syndrome


I found the info re the steroids, androgen and cortisol (near the bottom of the page) to be of specific interest re why more boys than girls manifest TS and why stress seems to be such a big tic trigger






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From above article


Between the end of the dendrites (the little “tentacles” coming out of the cell body) and the body of the next cell there is a gap of about 10-20 nm. (1 nm is one billionth of a metre). This gap is called a synapse. The electrical impulse cannot cross the synapse, so chemical transmitters are used – neurotransmitters. When the electrical impulse arrives at the end of the dendrite, a chemical neurotransmitter is released which crosses the gap and sparks off another electrical impulse on the other side. This is how messages get around the brain.



Link from article Chemar posted



The brain consists of billions of nerve cells. Each cell has dendrites which receive signals from adjacent cells. Cells also have axons which send messages to other nerves via their dendrites.





Thimerosal dramatically alters how two key calcium channels, code-named RyR1 and IP3R1, found in dendritic cells function as a team by 'garbling' the normal signaling system between them."




researchers discovered that extremely small levels of thimerosal interfere significantly with calcium channel function after just a few minutes of exposure. They also observed that immature dendritic cells are particularly sensitive to thimerosal.



*Is it possible that other toxins or metals ineffectively excreted from the body could wreck havoc on the dendritic cells and or dendrites? I have also read about the increase in dopamine receptors in autism. This has been associated with increased intellegience (sometimes savant qualities), and a greater susceptability to neuro symptoms, when damage occurs. Interesting too how this particular study was looking at effects on the immune system. Kim

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"It is my hypothesis that Tourette’s syndrome results from too much cortisol and too little DHEA. I suggest that children with TS might benefit from supplemental DHEA."


Maybe it's right . Anybody has tried supplimenting some DHEA ? How do you feel if yes ?



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Hi Simon

we have not tried DHEA supplementation


However, from the little I know about it, I would think it would be essential to first have testing done to determine the baseline DHEA levels and whether it is necessary to supplement with it and at what dose. Too much DHEA would have a detrimental effect on the overall hormonal system, which in turn would affect many other physiological processes.

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I haven't done DHEA supplementation either. My doctor is having me do a saliva test for DHEA & Cortisol through Great Smokies lab now known as Genova Diagnostics. I'll be sure to post my results though and let you all know what my doctor says about it after talking to him.



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  • 2 months later...

I got my adrenal test results back, and I thought I'd bring this post back up. I have normal Cortisol levels. However, I have high DHEA. My doctor said as long as you have enough Vitamin C your adrenals usually function pretty well.



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  • 3 weeks later...

I'm finding this DHEA stuff really interesting. Italics are mine.


Some of the things that seem quite compelling are:


There is DHEA and DHEA-S. DHEA-S is the sulphated form


Adrenal secretion of DHEA and DHEA-S increases in children at the age of 6 - 8 yr, and maximal values of circulating DHEA-S are reached between the ages of 20-30 yr. Thereafter, serum DHEA and DHEA-S levels decrease progressively.


Interesting age, what if our kids don't make it, or are not converting it.


DHEA is important for proper immune function.



It is in the field of immunology that DHEA has perhaps shown its most broad-spectrum positive action. A recent study found a strong inverse correlation between human serum DHEA-S levels and interleukin 6 (IL-6) levels. IL-6 is one of many cytokines, or immune cell "quasi-hormones," which collectively regulate immune activity.



In conclusion, the results presented here show DHEA to be effective as an antidespair agent in rats with both high anxiety and despair." Physiol. Behav. 1997 Nov; 62(5): 1053-1057 DHEA may alleviate the stress in TS by increasing the ratio of DHEA to cortisol.


In this study the tested the levels of corticotropin-releasing factor (basically a precurser to cortisol) in the cerebrospinal fluid. All 21 TS patients had higher levels than the OCD or control group.


DHEA is significantly low in schizophrenia (Biol. Psychiatry 1973; 6: 23)

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We did adrenal stress saliva tests too. 2 years ago (twice) and 1 year ago.


(425) 251-0596 Diagnostechs $100. Need doctor's sig.


or Metrametrix has one through directlabs.com, but it was $210. no doctor's sig.


Both require 4 saliva samples, including one at midnight.


Anyway, in all tests his DHEA/cortisol ratio was normal. However, in the first two test he didn't have enough cortisol (adrenal exhaustion), which is stage 2 of adrenal stress. We did major additional supplementation of vit C, pantothenic acid and bioflavins. In the most recent test (after much supplementation), he had elevated cortisol...which I assume is an improvement of sorts.


I have never posted about this, and will delete it later--so please don't reply to this and leave my post in permanent quotes, but I was concerned that Carolyn's doctor may have given some a false sense of security that kids have plenty of cortisol. I suspect that many if not most of our kids have adrenal stress--too much cortisol--and if that continues too long it can lead to adrenal exhaustion. This was a MAJOR MAJOR challenge for us--the biggest one we have ever faced--- and one that I didn't post about because I thought it was OT and my son is so sensitive to my sharing.



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That was a really helpful post.


I'm wondering if fatigue was a major symptom of the adrenal burn out? As the cortisol levels improved, was there noticable improvement in stamina? I know iron, and other issues were involved, so this probably isn't a yes or no answer either, sorry! Your statement about "too much cortisol, goes right back to the possiblity of too little DHEA at some point, possibly? Seems like this could be an explaination for transient tics too. I think I read where it's estimated that up to 20% of school age children experience transient tics.


Haven't we had people post here about having tics, improving, and having their tics return in their 40's or 50's? It seems the few posts I have read like that, the people attribute it to stress at work, divorce or other life events, but I'm wondering if it could be declining levels of DHEA.


The Geier's http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Geier

(heavily involved in thimerosal/vaccine connection) have a theory based on DHEA not converting, resulting in too much testosterone, and using a drug called Lupron to lower test. levels. They're work in this area is mostly forcusing on Precocious puberty. Explanation here:



Here is the PDF on Geier's theory if anyone is interested.




Here is a much more simple statement


Dr Geier's remarks on Radio Liberty (June 23 2006)


“it turns out that these kids almost all have low glutathione, which is the substance the body makes to help get rid of heavy metal. And they’ve been exposed to mercury, and when they have that condition, when they start making their androgens, their testosterone, they get to a point, a branch point, where they’re supposed to make most of their, it’s called DHEA into DHEA-S, but they can’t make DHEA-S because they need glutathione to do that step, so they make it almost all into testosterone.”


Of couse there are those who say that this is total nonsense and have studies on autistic kids, showing higher levels of DHEA-S than control groups.


I'm not sure if I posted this link or not. This one is on

page 7 of the Articles thread. Another DHEA/TS Hypothesis



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Speaking of Mark Geier and testosterone, I think it was in a video I was watching of his that he said that chelation, mb12 shots, Lupron, etc. is all doing one thing in common. They all lower testosterone. I personally have no clue how they all do this. Lupron I understand, but how does mb12, chelation, etc. lower it? Has anyone here had testosterone levels checked? My testosterone levels have never been checked, but I know that was mentioned before by Yale because I had a lot more hair on my legs at age eight and none of my sisters were that way.



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I think the other things just get the pathways working better, with the end goal being metals excretion.


If you look hard enough, all of these things are tied together in one way or another.


Thanks for the reply on the other thread. I would think that you are at a good point in regards to DHEA, with being in your early twenties, and again, the steps that you have taken with chelation, etc, may have helped in that area too.


I hope if anyone has any test results that would indicate a problem in this area, that they will post it.


So glad to hear that your tics are at such a great level!


My first thought regarding the glutathione, was the same as Claire's. It seems oral is usually said to be very ineffective at raising levels, but can make yeast worse? I'm not sure about the yeast part, I may be confusing it with something else oral. I'm sure TD is the form you hear of working best (aside from IV) I beleive.


If I see something, I'll be sure to send it on to you.




I'll be interested to see if anyone has anything to share regarding suspected levels of high testosterone too.

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I sent you a PM on this.


By the way, I really don't understand much about DHEA and won't pretend to. Since my son's levels were always fine, I just didn't research it. I tend to only research things that my son had issues with...and there were a ton... Sorry I can't be more helpful here! I am/will be spending my limited cycles now on researching hypoglycemia/hyperinsulinism and the mercury porphyrin thing.


Pfeiffer seems to think that MT is at the heart of everything...it would be nice to find the chicken/egg thing...it reminds me of yeast and mercury, and which were we supposed to fix first...



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I know exactly what you mean about the yeast/mercury chicken or egg remark.


I will be taking the boys to the chiropractor this week. He was JUST approved as a Health Plus provider, because we FOUGHT for it. It's almost comical, the ways I get tripped up, trying to get testing, or medical help with this whole thing. Forced me to learn a lot though. He is the one that is going to order the Great Plains Oat for me. The suit with Metametrix was interesting.


I have to get amino acids, OAT, and maybe fatty acid met. testing for youngest son.


I totally understand concentrating on area's important to your son!


The whole DHEA thing, is just interesting and something that I think could be important. I will have to check in PUB MED and see if there have been any studies done recently. I really didn't notice dates on any of the articles.

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Hi there

great discussion taking place!


I did just want to give a reminder tho that the article link that I posted is specifically dealing with Tourette Syndrome and to remind anyone reading here that the chemical issues that some of our members and/or their children deal with are Tourettes related while for others, they are dealing with tics that originate from other roots. Also, where many of the underlying issues may overlap, yet there are also divergences and so do just bear that in mind when reading this discussion, and especially in the light of the article's specific referenc to the chemistry underlying Tourette Syndrome. I am posting this as I have heard from some readers who are a bit confused by it all....hope this clarifies things!



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