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Tourette Syndrome (TS) is a neurological or "neurochemical" disorder characterized by tics -- involuntary,
rapid, sudden movements or vocalizations that occur repeatedly in the same way. The cause has not
been established, although current research presents considerable evidence that the disorder stems
from the abnormal metabolism of at least one brain chemical (neurotransmitter) called dopamine. Very
likely other neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, are also involved.
In 1825, the first case of TS was reported in medical literature by Dr. Itard. It was a description of the
Marquise de Dampierre, a noblewoman whose symptoms included involuntary tics of many parts of her
body and various vocalizations including echolalia and coprolalia. She lived to the age of 86 and was
again described by Dr. Georges de la Tourette in 1883, the French neurologist for whom the disorder
was named. Samuel Johnson, the lexicographer, Andre` Malraux, the French author and Mozart, the
composer, are among the famous people who are thought to have had TS.
The most common first symptom is a facial tic, such as rapidly blinking eyes or twitches of the mouth.
However, involuntary sounds, such as throat clearing and sniffing, or tics of the limbs may be the initial
signs. For some, the disorder begins abruptly with multiple symptoms of movements and sounds.
The tics can be either motor, vocal, or mental. They can occur many times a day (usually in bouts), and
they can also disappear for weeks or months at a time. The onset of TS is before the age of 18, but
commonly by around school age. They can be exacerbated by stress or tension, and although they can
be suppressed for a period of time, they cannot be suppressed permanently.
People diagnosed with Tourette's Syndrome often have accompanying ADHD (Attention Deficit
Hyperactivity Disorder) and OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). It is also sometimes associated
|Famous People With TS: