By Howard I. Kushner
Over a century and a part in the past, a French doctor said the weird habit of a tender aristocratic lady who may without warning, all at once, erupt in a startling healthy of obscene shouts and curses. identical to the Marquise de Dampierre echoes during the a long time because the emblematic instance of an disease that this present day represents one of many fastest-growing diagnoses in North the United States. Tourette syndrome is a collection of behaviors, together with recurrent ticcing and involuntary shouting (sometimes cursing) in addition to obsessive-compulsive activities. The interesting heritage of this syndrome unearths how cultural and clinical assumptions have made up our minds and noticeably altered its characterization and remedy from the early 19th century to the current. A Cursing mind? strains the not easy type of Tourette syndrome via 3 unique yet overlapping tales: that of the claims of clinical wisdom, that of sufferers' stories, and that of cultural expectancies and assumptions. prior researchers asserted that the unusual ticcing and impromptu vocalizations have been psychological--resulting from sustained undesirable behavior or loss of strength of mind. at the present time, sufferers showing those behaviors are noticeable as struggling with a neurological sickness and usually are handled with drug treatment. even though present medical learn shows that Tourette's is an natural ailment, this pioneering background of the syndrome reminds us to be skeptical of clinical orthodoxies in order that we may well remain open to clean understandings and more beneficial interventions. (20001209)
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Extra info for A Cursing Brain? The Histories of Tourette Syndrome
11 Thus, when tics and vocalizations persisted, resisting all interventions, a differential diagnosis of “maladie des tics de Gilles de la Tourette” was appropriate. In these cases, Charcot and Gilles de la Tourette asserted that the underlying pathology could be identiªed in the hereditary history of their patients. Charcot’s deªnition of predisposing family pathologies, including nervous habits, alcoholism, and epilepsy, was promiscuous. He diagnosed a twenty-one-year-old woman with tic illness because “her mother was very nervous, subject to unbridled anger: several times in a ªt of jealousy, she attempted to poison herself; her maternal grand- A Disputed Illness ◆ 29 father .
D. ªrst experienced motor tics when he was eight, which ameliorated for four years. Symptoms returned at age twelve, this time accompanied by coprolalia, during which G. D. ”55 Thus, only two of Gilles de la Tourette’s clinical observations displayed the range of symptoms that he and Charcot attached to the general syndrome. None, however, ªt their assertions that the syndrome was unambiguously progressive and lifelong. Indeed, the twenty-year-old civil servant, S. , who had exhibited ºorid symptoms, was completely free of them (except some residual word repetition) the year after Gilles de la Tourette examined him.
These bizarre behaviors, like TS, often were accompanied by imi- 22 ◆ The Case of the Cursing Marquise tative behaviors, mimicry, involuntary cursing, and sexually explicit gestures and displays. The most inºuential and detailed study was American neurologist George M. Beard’s description of the startle, jumping, and ticlike behaviors of a number of French Canadian lumberjacks living in Maine. Beard, who popularized the diagnosis of neurasthenia, a condition he asserted was caused by exhausted nerves, visited and “experimented” with these lumberjacks near Moosehead Lake.
A Cursing Brain? The Histories of Tourette Syndrome by Howard I. Kushner