Acknowledgments See end of paper for additional co-authors from the Tourette Syndrome International Database Consortium. Partial financial support to the first author was provided by the Tourette Syndrome & Tic Research Endowment Fund, University of British Columbia, and partial support to the first author and Samuel Zinner was provided by the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities [NCBDDD] of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention through a cooperative agreement with the Association of University Centers on Disabilities, USA. We thank Douglas Staley, Lecturer in Statistics, School of Medical Rehabilitation, University of Manitoba (Winnipeg, MB, Canada), for his statistical advice.
Coprophenomena in Tourette syndrome
Version of Record online: 5 DEC 2008
© The Authors. Journal compilation © Mac Keith Press 2008
Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology
Volume 51, Issue 3, pages 218–227, March 2009
How to Cite
FREEMAN, R. D., ZINNER, S. H., MÜLLER-VAHL, K. R., FAST, D. K., BURD, L. J., KANO, Y., ROTHENBERGER, A., ROESSNER, V., KERBESHIAN, J. and STERN, J. S. (2009), Coprophenomena in Tourette syndrome. Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology, 51: 218–227. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8749.2008.03135.x
- Issue online: 19 FEB 2009
- Version of Record online: 5 DEC 2008
- PUBLICATION DATA Accepted for publication 9th June 2008. Published online 5th December 2008.
The aims of this descriptive study were to examine the prevalence and associations of coprophenomena (involuntary expression of socially unacceptable words or gestures) in individuals with Tourette syndrome. Participant data were obtained from the Tourette Syndrome International Database Consortium. A specialized data collection form was completed for each of a subset of 597 consecutive new patients with Tourette syndrome from 15 sites in seven countries. Coprolalia occurred at some point in the lifetime of 19.3% of males and 14.6% of females, and copropraxia in 5.9% of males and 4.9% of females. Coprolalia was three times as frequent as copropraxia, with a mean onset of each at about 11 years, 5 years after the onset of tics. In 11% of those with coprolalia and 12% of those with copropraxia these coprophenomena were one of the initial symptoms of Tourette syndrome. The onsets of tics, coprophenomena, smelling of non-food objects, and spitting were strongly intercorrelated. Early onset of coprophenomena was not associated with its longer persistence. The most robust associations of coprophenomena were with the number of non-tic repetitive behaviors, spitting, and inappropriate sexual behavior. Although coprophenomena are a frequently feared possibility in the course of Tourette syndrome, their emergence occurs in only about one in five referred patients. Because the course and actual impact of coprophenomena are variable, additional prospective research is needed to provide better counseling and prognostic information.