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Update on university and Tourette Syndrome media coverage in the UK

Right now, I would like to state that I have not been writing blogs because of a heavy workload and finding very little space to sleep, let alone leisurely write a blog, but alas, this is not true. I have quite simply been doing some work, sleeping A LOT and socialising.

So far at university, I have been quite sensible. Very few alcoholic drinks have been consumed, and I have pretty much refused to stay up all night. I am quite surprised at how well I have adjusted to living at Uni. I may have sought out some form of order quicker than others and tried to maintain this, but as other people say, “Hey! Let’s do this tonight!”

I have been quite happy to spontaneously join them, despite it not being a preplanned activity. This always seen incomprehensible to me before. I am far too keen on order and, ultimately, control to let whims lead the way. I’m not saying that any layers of order and routine have been eliminated from my life, but any disregard to routine is a positive step in my book.

Away from focusing on what’s happening to me at University, I thought I would mention some recent media coverage of Tourette Syndrome in the UK. First to be mentioned will be the fantastic documentary that aired in three parts in September, hosted by Reggie Yates.

It was called “Tourette: Let Me Entertain You” and focused on six young people in the UK with TS and how when they were performing musically they had no tics. It ended wonderfully with a show where we saw each of them in a solo performance and a group performance.

This was a really positive program and left me feeling that it gave enough information on TS to give the audience a vague understanding of it, but didn’t go so far into the science if TS for the audience to either pity the people involved or forget they were individuals at all and just see the tics.

More recently, in the same week and on the same channel, there were two programs that when they were on people were messaging me to see if I was watching. The first was just a segment of the program “The Food Hospital,” where people with different illnesses or conditions consult with a dietitian to see if their symptoms can be alleviated by altering their diet.

A young lad with TS was featured on this program, and they said in the show that although no correlation between a specific diet and tic severity had been found, they would see what would happen on a diet which cut out all stimulants and additives.

After being on this diet for about a month, he found that his tics hadn’t been as severe, but the doctors and dietitians were first to say that, of course, although this was a very positive outcome, they could never say for certain whether or not the diet had caused him to tic less or whether he was just having a time where he ticked less anyway.

I found this fairly interesting, as although there was no firm conclusion it showed that maybe if at some points my tics do get worse, maybe addressing some aspects of my diet might be my first step.

The program that was on the very next night was entitled “The Town That Caught Tourettes.” I already didn’t like the sound of this program as, personally, I thought the title was awful (last time I checked, Tourette Syndrome wasn’t contagious…), but I thought I would watch it anyway just in case it was actually informative and explained the tic disorder that the girls featured had developed.

It focused on the girls in New York who all of a sudden began to display tics. It kept referencing to their “Tourett- like tics” with no explanation of what this meant or how this condition varied at all from Tourette Syndrome. It showed frightening scenes of girls with their tics at the worst and a string of doctors who either didn’t diagnose them, or their parents weren’t happy with the diagnosis.

The way that the late development of a tic disorder was portrayed was really quite bizarre and very negative, and from looking at Twitter afterward the main trends amongst the people tweeting about it were that they found it frightening and that they were scared that they were also going to catch tourettes.

This program, to me, was a step in a VERY wrong direction. The mere fact that very little science or explanation was given in the program was ridiculous. This makes me all the more glad that I am able to follow people on twitter that give truthful, informed updates on TS and that we are able to post to this blog that maybe people will stumble upon and learn more about what Tourette Syndrome really is.

AislingL

2 Comments

  1. wow, it sounds like tourette gets a lot of attention on tv there. i wonder why that is? but ur college time sounds fun! what is the drinking age there?

    • It doesn’t normally get much attention, it was just all of a sudden this autumn tree programs were on. I think it’s because people seem so fascinated with it, to be honest. The channel that did The Food Hospital and The Town That Caught Tourettes does loads of programs with people with various disabilities and conditions (all with dramatic titles – one that comes to mind is The Undatables where they got a load of people that society deemed to be ‘undatable’ and made a show about their love life…crazy) so I think it was really a coincidence.

      My uni is lovely 🙂 The drinking age is 18, so a fair few people spend most nights ‘winding down’ at the end of the day with a bottle of something in their hand 😛

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