Friday, October 16, 2009

Tourette syndrome

If you've heard of Tourette syndrome, you may associate it with coprolalia, but the compulsion to use obscene or scatalogical language is present in only a small minority of cases. This neurological disorder is, however, characterized by repetitive, involuntary movements and vocalizations called "tics" that range from simple (blinking, sniffing, grunting, grimacing, shrugging the shoulders) to complex (grimace combined with head twist and shoulder shrug, jumping or twisting, touching objects) to severe (punching oneself in the face, coprolalia and echolalia). The average onset of the syndrome is between the ages of 7 and 10 (watch these children describe it) and usually subsides by adulthood, with tics at their worst during times of excitement or anxiety. The disorder is named after French neurologist George Gilles de la Tourette (pictured), who first diagnosed it in 1885. Famous people with Tourette syndrome include Dan Ackroyd, Howie Mandel, and David Beckham. This post was prompted by a story in the weird news 2 days ago about a British dad, but his symptoms pale in comparison to this Australian daughter.

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