More people with Tourette than there are Japanese, studies show

The number of people in the world with Tourette syndrome and tic disorders is greater than the population of Japan, studies have brought to light.

A recent CDC study concluded that the current estimate of 1 in 100 people is inaccurate, and could be as many as 1 in 50.

The worlds population is expected to reach 8 billion in 2023. In population rankings, Japan is in 11th place with over 125 million inhabitants.

If the 1-in-50 statistic is accurate, over 160 million people around the world will have Tourette or another tic disorder in 2023.

worlds top ten populations as of 2022 in chart form

Leapfrogging nations

Japan isn’t the only country that would fall down the rankings in this scenario.

Mexico (132 million) would slip into 11th place and Russia (146 million) down to 10th.

The startling number is evidence of how prevalent tic disorders are around the world, and the desperate need for funding. Despite some progress, tic disorders such as Tourette are underfunded and not researched as much as other neurological disorders.

With a metropolitan area of over 21 million people, Mexico City is expected to have approximatley 420,000 people with tic disorders.

Moving forward

The Tourette Association of America, the largest organization in the world supporting Tourette funding and research, has the following to say on their 50-year anniversary and 5-year strategic plan:

Never has the case for accelerated progress been more urgent for bold strides toward funding research due to nearly 1 million Americans suffering from some form of Tic Disorder, the gap between symptoms and diagnosis still being large, and an astounding 50% of the population still going undiagnosed.

50% of the population still going undiagnosed is unacceptable. Although the 1 million Americans statistic may now be an underestimate, it is still far too many people not getting help.

Knowing the true number may be a catalyst for change. Although treating such a large number of people will be a challenge, a stronger push for funding will aim to make this a possibility.