By Howard I. Kushner
Over a century and a part in the past, a French doctor suggested the weird habit of a tender aristocratic girl who could unexpectedly, unexpectedly, erupt in a startling healthy of obscene shouts and curses. identical to the stricken Marquise de Dampierre echoes throughout the a long time because the emblematic instance of an affliction that this present day represents one of many fastest-growing diagnoses in North the USA. Tourette syndrome is a collection of behaviors, together with recurrent ticcing and involuntary shouting (sometimes cursing) in addition to obsessive-compulsive activities. The attention-grabbing historical past of this syndrome unearths how cultural and scientific assumptions have made up our minds and notably altered its characterization and remedy from the early 19th century to the current. A Cursing mind? strains the problematical category 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 weird ticcing and impromptu vocalizations have been psychological--resulting from sustained undesirable conduct or loss of self-discipline. at the present time, sufferers showing those behaviors are obvious as being affected by a neurological affliction and usually are handled with drug treatment. even if present scientific examine shows that Tourette's is an natural affliction, 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 better interventions. (20001209)
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Additional info for A Cursing Brain? The Histories of Tourette Syndrome
Throughout the nineteenth century the vast majority of physicians who tried to understand choreic movement disorders focused on attempts to link symptoms and etiology. Assuming that variations of choreas shared a common rheumatic fever pathology, these practitioners resisted creating a separate disease category for convulsive tics. 58 It was his view that “because these two afºictions are part of the same pathological family (la ‘famille arthritique’), . . ”59 Charcot insisted that symptomatic differences and the course of each illness required separating variable choreas [convulsive tics] from Sydenham’s chorea.
54 Lacking any ªrm neuropathological evidence or understanding of the mechanisms of infections in the brain, nineteenth-century practitioners interested in understanding and treating choreas continued to fall back on nosological approaches (classiªcation by symptoms) as one of the few tools in their medical armamentarium. 55 What distinguished these from Sydenham’s chorea were not their onset or uncertain course, but their frequency and the vocalizations. Having made this distinction, Trousseau produced a case of a fourteen-year-old boy “afºicted with extremely severe tic” and uncontrolled vocalizations, calling into question the very boundaries that he had erected.
45 That same year the French Academy of Medicine published and awarded a prize to Germain Sée of the Hôpital des Enfants for his De la Chorée, which concluded that “in most cases . . ”48 Tied to the view that rheumatic disorders often, but not always, resulted in choreic movement disorders was the belief that variations in movement symptoms were different manifestations of a common underlying condition, not distinct diseases. This made sense because of a great variety in the severity of symptoms and outcome among those afºicted with rheumatic fever: some patients died, others recovered, but with weakened heart function, and a number seemed to display no residual symptoms.
A Cursing Brain? The Histories of Tourette Syndrome by Howard I. Kushner