Other Known Aliases – Brissaud’s Disease
Definition – neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by motor and vocal tic with onset during childhood
Clinical Significance – the exact cause is still largely unknown, but likely results from a disturbance in the cortico-striatal-thalamic-cortical (mesolimbic) circuit, which leads to disinhibition of the motor and limbic system. There are no specific tests to confirm and is a clinical diagnosis. The severity of the tics largely decreases, and in some instances disappears, in adolescence and adulthood.
History – Named after Georges Gilles de la Tourette (1857-1904), a French neurologist who recieved his medical doctorate from University of Poitiers at the age of 16. He subsequently moved to Paris to train at the famous Laennec Hospital and Salpêtrière Hospital under Jean Martin Charcot. Under the tutelage of Charcot, he made tremendous strides in the area of psychotherapy, hysteria, psychology, and neurology and described his eponymous condition in a nine patient case series in 1884. In a rather cruel twist of fate, he was shot in the neck by a patient he had treated with hypnotism in 1893, fell into a deep depression, committed to a psychiatric hospital due to tertiary neurosyphilis, and died there in 1904.
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