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Corinth girl's tics are a medical mystery | Health

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Corinth girl's tics are a medical mystery
Health, People

CORINTH - Lori Brownell can barely let her father get a word in. Not because she's a gabby teenage girl, but physically this 17-year-old can't control the verbal and motor tics that have overtaken her body.

"It can be hard because you don't have what you had before," she said.

Last year Lori suffered a concussion while playing volleyball. Months later she began passing out. Then lengthy bouts of involuntary shaking kicked in and now severe verbal and motor spasms.

"From what we're going through now it happened overnight. It went from passing out to this overnight," said her father, Jeff Brownell.

Before July, Lori was a scholar athlete. Her parents say she was the top of her class and a champion field hockey player.

Now the junior hasn't been well enough for school since October.

Lori's been to dozens of doctors in Albany, Boston and New York, but perhaps the biggest frustration is that there is no definite cause. They diagnosed her with Tourette syndrome, but the Brownells aren't convinced.

Neither are all the families who describe almost identical problems in Le Roy, N.Y., out in the western part of the state. Lori did eat at a restaurant in Le Roy this summer on her way to a sporting event, but her mom and dad believe it's a bizarre coincidence.

"It's strange this came back at the same time all these other girls and were in the area," Jeff Brownell said.

Lori's symptoms become aggravated by stress. To deal with the emotional side effects and feelings of isolation she created an online support group for kids experiencing the same thing.

"I'm going to do whatever I can to get it under control to go back to what i was before this started," she said.

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