Girls and young women have been developing strange tics, alarming doctors who have blamed these cases on being exposed to TikTok videos on tics as well as the stress caused by isolation during the pandemic.
In fact, there is actually a subculture on TikTok known as "Tic Tok" where people share videos of their tic-related symptoms.
Doctors have since clarified that these tic-related cases are not cases of Tourette's Syndrome, but of a different kind of tics.
Girls Developing Strange Kind of Tics: What are Tics Anyway?
Tics have been defined by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as "sudden twitches, movements, or sounds that people do repeatedly."
According to the CDC, "people who have tics cannot stop their body from doing these things."
Per an article by WebMD, there are two types of tics. The first one is known as motor tics, which are sudden movements that do not last very long.
The second type of tics is known as the vocal tics. As its name suggests, vocal tics are sudden uttered sounds.
Cases of Tics are Growing Among Females
Motherboard, VICE's tech arm, has reported about the growing cases of strange, unexplained tics among girls and young women.
According to the Motherboard report, there is "a parallel pandemic of young people aged 12 to 25 years (almost exclusively girls and women) presenting with the rapid onset of complex motor and vocal tic-like behaviors."
The report also noted that the strange, rapidly-occurring cases of tics ballooned in number. Pre-pandemic, these unexplained tics account for 1% to 5% of total cases. Now they account for 20% to 35% of total cases.
Doctors have since also pointed out that these cases of the unexplained tics are not cases of a tic disorder called Tourette's Syndrome. According to a report by Futurism, Tourette's Syndrome "tends to start affecting people at younger ages, skews more towards boys, and causes less extreme tics."
In contrast, the new, strange kind of tics is seen in girls and young women whose ages range from 12 to 25 years old.
Related Article: Brain Chemical May Help Dampen Tourette Syndrome Tics in Children
Is There a Link to TikTok's 'Tic Tok' Subculture?
According to the Motherboard report, researchers who have been studying the new cases of tics said that their patients "all endorsed exposure to influencers on social media (mainly TikTok) with tics."
"In some cases, the patients specifically identified an association between these media exposures and the onset of symptoms... This exposure to tics or tic-like behaviors is a plausible trigger for the behaviors observed in at least some of these patients, based on a disease modeling mechanism," the researchers added.
In fact, there is a subculture that exists on TikTok known as "Tic Tok." TikTok videos in this subculture are posted by people who want to share their experiences with tics.
A TikTok user who goes by the handle @tylatics on the platform has been quoted by the Motherboard report, saying that she picks up tics often from watching tic-related videos on the platform.
Due to rising cases of tics, the Tic Tok trend is the latest TikTok trend to cause concern among doctors due to the harm they may cause to the health and wellbeing of TikTok users.
Other TikTok trends that have alarmed medical professionals and caused harm to people who took part in such trends include the Milk Crate Challenge, which has been banned by TikTok, and the Frozen Honey Challenge.
This article is owned by Tech Times
Written by Isabella James