Tourette Syndrome

Stephen Black sblack at UBISHOPS.CA
Fri Sep 19 15:48:38 EST 1997

On Fri, 19 Sep 1997, Bradley H. Davis wrote:

> I'm a 18 year old Ontario Highschool student, currently studying my OACs.
> I have Tourette Syndrome, and would like to be able to prove to my mother 
> that she didn't cause my Tourette Syndrome by being a "bad mother". Any 
> help you can give me would be greatly apperciated.


I'm pretty sure that there's an essay on someone with Tourette Syndrome 
in Oliver Sachs' highly interesting book "The Man Who Mistook his Wife
for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales". It was published in 1985, became a 
best-seller, and is probably in paperback. Any good bookstore or 
university library should have it.

The description is dramatic but sympathetic, and I think it clearly
suggests that Tourette is a neurological condition. Anyway the days of
blaming upbringing are long past (claimed for everything from
schizophrenia to autism and everything in-between, and never had a shred
of evidence in support). But it sure caused people a lot of misery.

I'd turn the question around. People (even guilt-ridden mothers) should 
be required to provide evidence that upbringing _was_ responsible rather 
than the reverse. I doubt that they'll be able to do it.

Since this is probably not all that helpful to you, I checked a
neuropsychology text on my shelf. According to Banich (1997), "Tourette's
syndrome appears to run in families and has been linked to a gene on
chromosome 18 (Bannister, 1992). Studies of family genealogies suggest
that it may be a sex-linked trait that, when present, expresses itself to
a high degree in males..." 

Yup, just as I thought. Genetic, all right. Tell your mom not to feel so 



Banich, M. (1997). Neuropsychology: the Neural Basis of Mental Function.
   Houghton Mifflin, Boston.

Bannister, R. (1992). Brain and Bannister's Clinical Neurology (7th
  ed.) Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Stephen Black, Ph.D.                      tel: (819) 822-9600 ext 2470
Department of Psychology                  fax: (819) 822-9661
Bishop's University                    e-mail: sblack at
Lennoxville, Quebec               
J1M 1Z7                    Bishop's Department of Psychology web page at:                                                      

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