A Midlands woman helps to find the origin of Tourette Syndrome

COLUMBIA (WACH) -- Leigh Cheatham is the Communications Director for the Richland County Recreation Commission.

From speaking with her you'd never be able to tell she has Tourette Syndrome.

"As I TMve gotten older my ticks have become less. They have not gone away because I TMll always have them," says Leigh Cheatham.

She says doctors diagnosed her when she was a child and says growing up things were difficult.

"I made funny faces and funny noises and that caused disturbances in class from time to time."

Now she wants to help others who might be struggling through hard times with the disorder.

She recently took part in a Tourette Syndrome study with Mass General in Boston.

Cheatham and others in the study gave samples of their blood to help map out any genetic links to the disorder.

Doctors say finding the origin of the syndrome is important because there are other disorders linked to Tourette TMs.

Tourette itself, ticks, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), TM says Dr. Davit Mrelashvili, USC School of Medicine.

Medical experts say currently folks with the disorder can take medicine.

"Basically try to reverse the affects of the chemical dopamine that we think is in surplus in the brain," says Dr. Mrelashvili.

There TMs also a treatment available were a device is implanted into the brain to help control the impulses or ticks sent out from the brain.

Click here for information into the Tourette Syndrome study.