TS – History

In 1810, Dr. Bouteille produced the first description of the syndrome symptoms and named it “pseudo-chorea».

In 1825, Dr. Itard (a French doctor and educator, a pioneer in the education of child with intellectual disabilities) was the first to describe the syndrome and the strange tics that goes with it (such as coprolalia).  These behaviours were rashly judged, which helped in coming up with the name “the sickness of the wild child”.  Manifestations of the sickness were not very well understood.

In 1885, Dr. Georges Gilles de la Tourette, French neurologist, focused his interests on the syndrome in appraising the “marquise de Dampierre” and ended up by spending many years of research on this subject. He was in a position to examine and to diagnose nine other cases over the course of his life. He noted that the syndrome presented similar symptoms in all cases studied and linked it to motor and vocal tics, obsessive-compulsive disorder and strange behaviours.

Because of the shameful and eccentric symptoms of the syndrome, then unknown, the “marquise de Dompierre”, suffering with TS since the age of 7, was hidden by her family and lived in her room all her life and died at the age of 85.

Some personalities that marked history likely had TS. Of note, the Roman emperor Claude, the tsar Pierre Le Grand and the composer Mozart.  Doctors were able to note TS symptoms based on their biography.

Today more than ever, it is important to continue to raise awareness of TS characteristics and related problems in order to fight judgement and help with the integration of people with TS.