Gilles de la Tourette Syndrome

  • Arnold J. Friedhoff
Part of the Readings from the Encyclopedia of Neuroscience book series (REN)


This disorder was first definitively described in 1885 by Georges Gilles de la Tourette. Symptoms, consisting of multiple tics, inappropriate vocalizations including grunts, coughs, and obscene words, usually begin between 2 and 15 years of age. The first symptoms are often eye blinks, progressing in a fluctuating course to a more generalized disorder including vocalizations. Although the psychological consequences can be severe, this is, at least in part, secondary to the socially intrusive nature of the symptoms. The disorder itself is not believed to produce primary mental problems except for learning disabilities, attentional disturbance, hyperactivity, obsessions, compulsions, and impulsive behavior in some patients. About 40% of sufferers significantly improve in early adulthood, the remainder maintaining symptoms of fluctuating severity throughout life.

Further reading

  1. Cohen DJ, Shaywitz BA, Young JG, et al (1979): Central biogenic amine metabolism in children with the syndrome of chronic multipletics of Gilles de la Tourette. J Am Acad Child Psychiatry 18: 320–341CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Friedhoff AJ, Chase TN, eds (1982): Gilles de la Tourette Syndrome. New York: Raven PressGoogle Scholar
  3. Gilles de la Tourette G (1885): Etude sur une affection nerveuse caracterisée par l’incoordination motrice accompagnée de écholalie et de copralalie. Arch Neurol 9: 19–42, 158-200Google Scholar
  4. Shapiro AK, Shapiro ES, Bruun RD, Sweet RD (1978): Gilles de la Tourette Syndrome. New York: Raven PressGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arnold J. Friedhoff

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