By Howard I. Kushner
Over a century and a part in the past, a French doctor suggested the unusual habit of a tender aristocratic girl who may unexpectedly, all of sudden, erupt in a startling healthy of obscene shouts and curses. identical to the bothered Marquise de Dampierre echoes throughout the many years because the emblematic instance of an ailment that this present day represents one of many fastest-growing diagnoses in North the US. 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 finds how cultural and scientific assumptions have decided and considerably altered its characterization and remedy from the early 19th century to the current. A Cursing mind? lines the frustrating type of Tourette syndrome via 3 particular yet overlapping tales: that of the claims of scientific wisdom, that of sufferers' reports, and that of cultural expectancies and assumptions. previous researchers asserted that the unusual ticcing and impromptu vocalizations have been psychological--resulting from sustained undesirable behavior or loss of self-discipline. this day, sufferers displaying those behaviors are visible as struggling with a neurological disorder and customarily are handled with drug treatment. even supposing present scientific study exhibits that Tourette's is an natural ailment, this pioneering heritage of the syndrome reminds us to be skeptical of scientific orthodoxies in order that we may possibly remain open to clean understandings and greater interventions. (20001209)
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Extra info for A Cursing Brain? The Histories of Tourette Syndrome
16 Although all hysterics displayed some involuntary movements, severe cases, argued Guinon, also exhibited the most ºorid symptoms of convulsive tic disorder. 17 Charcot’s initial reaction to Guinon’s criticisms was to downplay the dispute by extending credit to both his students, while also emphasizing the importance of viewing Gilles de la Tourette’s typology as distinct from hysteria. 20 He contrasted the case of a twenty-two-year-old woman whose tics and barking noises seemed similar to that of a seventeen-year-old boy who he had diagnosed as afºicted with maladie des tics.
Two other of Guinon’s patients exhibited symptoms—involuntary movements, coprolalia, and echolalia—that were consistent with those outlined by Gilles de la Tourette, but also both imitated movements they observed in others. Adopting Charcot’s label of this echo behavior as “echokinésie,” Guinon argued that these patients acted similarly to patients who were hypnotized; yet, according to Charcotian theory, only hysterics could be hypnotized. 15 Guinon challenged Charcot’s assertion that hysteria and maladie des tics could coexist, but were unrelated.
But in both cases Itard emphasized the moral elements of treatment. It was crucial to keep the ªrst patient separated from “exposing herself too quickly to the inºuence of the [domestic] causes” of her illness. As for the second, Itard had the young woman taken for walks in Parisian streets, reporting that, due to her fear of public humiliation, “I obtained . . a success more prompt and more complete than I would have dared to hope. The attacks diminished so rapidly in frequency and intensity, that at the beginning of ªve weeks Mlle.
A Cursing Brain? The Histories of Tourette Syndrome by Howard I. Kushner