By Howard I. Kushner

Over a century and a part in the past, a French medical professional stated the weird habit of a tender aristocratic lady who may unexpectedly, without notice, erupt in a startling healthy of obscene shouts and curses. clone of the bothered Marquise de Dampierre echoes throughout the many years because the emblematic instance of an ailment that at the present time 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 interesting heritage of this syndrome unearths how cultural and scientific assumptions have decided and greatly altered its characterization and therapy from the early 19th century to the current. A Cursing mind? lines the complex category of Tourette syndrome via 3 specified 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 strength of mind. this day, sufferers showing those behaviors are noticeable as being affected by a neurological sickness and usually are taken care of with drug treatment. even if present medical examine shows that Tourette's is an natural affliction, this pioneering background of the syndrome reminds us to be skeptical of scientific orthodoxies in order that we may possibly remain open to clean understandings and more beneficial interventions. (20001209)

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67 Even those who argued that rheumatic fever was only one possible cause of chorea never completely dissociated the two. For instance, Dr. ” Nevertheless, Pagliano cited “the words of M. ”68 Because late twentieth-century Western medicine has adopted Charcot’s typology of movement disorders, historians of medicine and clinical practitioners have neglected the late nineteenth-century medical discussion about the possible infectious substrate of these disorders. Symposia and review articles on the possible connection between rheumatic fever and subsequent movement disorders were reported and published in local, regional, and national medical journals in the United States, Canada, Britain, and France.

44 In particular, Gilles de la Tourette had been fascinated by the relationship between tic disorders and jumping and startle behaviors reported in Malaysia, Siberia, and Maine. These bizarre behaviors, like TS, often were accompanied by imi- 22 ◆ The Case of the Cursing Marquise tative behaviors, mimicry, involuntary cursing, and sexually explicit gestures and displays. The most inºuential and detailed study was American neurologist George M. Beard’s description of the startle, jumping, and ticlike behaviors of a number of French Canadian lumberjacks living in Maine.

73 A Consensus on Psychopathology Given the persistence of the connection between both Sydenham’s chorea and convulsive tic behaviors with prior rheumatic disease, why did tic behaviors continue to be categorized as pathologically separate from other choreas? The answer to this question is tied, in large part, to the triumph of the psychologizing that increasingly affected late nineteenth-century thinking and developed into psychoanalytic categories by the 1920s. Ironically, the emphasis was on common underlying pathology rather than on variations in symptoms.

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