A retrospective study of 138 children with Tourette’s syndrome examined the contribution of neurobehavioral concomitant symptoms to academic difficulties in the Department of Neurology, and Division of Biostatistics, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, NY. A diagnosis of specific learning disorder (LD) was made in 30 (22%). Among 108 without a diagnosis of LD, 36 (33%) had school problems that included grade retention in 16 (15%) and/or special education placement in 41 (38%). The association of ADHD with TS was a significant predictor of school problems. [1]

COMMENT. Even when children with specific learning disabilities are excluded, TS is associated with academic problems in one third. Tics themselves were not the reason for the school problems, but rather the associated comorbid ADHD. These findings confirm those of the Johns Hopkins group of investigators, who found that children with TS + ADHD were at higher risk for a specific learning disability than those with TS alone (32% v 0%). [2]

For those readers interested in history, Lajonchere C et al, from Washington University, St Louis, MO, have published an English-language translation of an 1884 article by Gilles de la Tourette that led to his description of the Tourette syndrome published in 1885. [3]