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.

Bradley:

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 
guilty.

-Stephen

References

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.

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Stephen Black, Ph.D.                      tel: (819) 822-9600 ext 2470
Department of Psychology                  fax: (819) 822-9661
Bishop's University                    e-mail: sblack at ubishops.ca
Lennoxville, Quebec               
J1M 1Z7                    Bishop's Department of Psychology web page at:                                                      
Canada                        http://www.ubishops.ca/ccc/div/soc/psy
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