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Gilles de la Tourette
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Doctor
    (October 30, 1857-May 26, 1904)
    Birth name was Georges Albert Édouard Brutus Gilles de la Tourette
    Namesake for the neurological disorder Tourette's syndrome, aka Tourette Spectrum (TS)
    Described nine patients with varying degrees of compulsive tics, including French noblewoman Marquise de Dampière (1885)
    Died of neurosyphilis at 46
    Approximately 1 in 200 experience a form of TS (Mozart may have suffered the affliction)
    TS has been called 'maladie des tics' and 'Wandering Jew disease'
    He was impatient.
    He angered when others disagreed with him.
    He married his cousin, Marie Detrois, 10 year his junior.
    He described himself as 'ugly as a louse, but very intelligent.'
    Though the disease is named for him, French physician Jean Marc Gaspard Itard first described the condition 60 years earlier (1825).
    He had few friends and was continually passed over for promotion.
    He said of TS, 'Everything is extraordinary in this disease - the name is ridiculous, its symptoms peculiar, its character equivocal, its cause unknown, its treatment problematical.'
    He thought TS would cause severe mental illness in the latter stages of a patient's life. In 1899, he changed his opinion on the recommendation of a colleague.
    Toward the end of his life he became suicidal.
    After his death his name began to vanish from most neurological and psychiatric text and books of medical history.
    He graduated high school at sixteen.
    He became a neurologist at 24.
    He invented a battery-operated vibration helmet to treat patients of facial nerve pain and vertigo.
    He was an authority on hysteria and the medico-legal ramifications of hypnotism, as well as an accomplished neuropsychiatrist.
    He had a keen interest in therapeutics.
    Some of his lectures on hypnosis were attended by Sigmund Freud.
    He became despondent when both his young son and his mentor, Dr. Charcot, died in 1893.
    A crazed woman accused him of hypnotizing her without consent, causing her to lose mental health.
    The woman shot him in the back of the head, but the wound was superficial and he fully recovered (1893).
    In 1899 he developed neurosyphilis, a congenital infection that caused severe depression.
    By 1901 the disease led to his ouster from the hospital where he worked and forced him to quit his practice.
    He became psychotic, his speech became incoherent and he suffered from convulsions.
    Eventually he was committed to a mental hospital where he died.
    74 years after his death, four New York scientists published a 400+ page report, 'Gilles-de-la-Tourette-Syndrome,' that sparked renewed interest in the disease (1978).

Credit: Scar Tactics


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