A 12 year-old male with Tourette Syndrome whose symptoms improved with gum chewing is reported from the Division of Pediatric Neurology, Hahnemann University, Philadelphia, PA. With onset at 3 years of age, symptoms had included blinking, head nodding, neck twisting, shoulder shrugs, snorting, sniffing and blowing, and coprolalia. Haloperidol controlled tics but was associated with excessive drowsiness. Clonidine was of some benefit. After chewing gum, using 2-3 sticks to make a large wad, the urge to move and vocalize was decreased and jaw movements made noise-making more difficult. The author recommends gum chewing as an adjunct therapy in Tourette Syndrome to decrease stress, facial movements, and particularly vocalizations. [1]

COMMENT: Provided that teachers and parents are tolerant of gum chewing, this form of therapy should be recommended. The prevalence of Tourette syndrome was discussed in a previous issue (Ped Neur Briefs March 1988;2:24). Tics were controlled by haloperidol in 13 of 18 children requiring treatment; the disorder was mild and treatment was unnecessary in 23 (56%) patients. [2]