As most of the afternoon class may know, I was diagnosed with tourettes syndrome a few years back. It hasn’t had many negative effects on me, but it’s still a massive pain in the a** at times. Because of this, I have chosen the neurologist that diagnosed tourettes syndrome, Gilles de Tourette.
Gilles was a frenchman, attending medical school in Poitiers, France, where he found his role model, Dr. Renaudot. After his schooling, he became an active physician, and began to research motor disorders such as “lahta” and “jumpers. He believed these motor disorders were caused by chorea, which was another motor disorder involving one side of the body. This is when he diagnosed his first patient, the 50 year old Marquise de Dampierre, with what would be known as tourette syndrome. The Marquise was a noblewoman who experienced muscle twitches, very similar to mine, and since these were not well known at the time, she was outcasted and spent her life in solitude all the way to 85 years old.
Gilles gathered together many patients similar to the Marquise, and began studying them over time. He noticed that these muscle twitches persisted over time, once again much like mine, and were involuntary. Thus, he named the symptom “Maladie des tiques”, which translates to muscle sickness. Later after his death, this syndrome was renamed to Tourettes syndrome in his honour.
Although Gilles is well known for diagnosing this syndrome, his primary activity was to participate in court cases involving hypnosis. He would go to these cases where people said they were not guilty of a crime, because they were forced to do it via means of hypnotism. Gilles went to these cases and told the people they were not hypnotised, but rather quite simply insane. They were promptly thrown into a loony bin.
One of the women that Gilles sent to the insane asylum was eventually released, and she wasn’t very happy. She found Gilles, and accused him of hypnotising her from a distance. Gilles told her she was insane, and belonged back in the asylum. She told Gilles that he needed to pay her, sine she caused all of his issues. Gilles simply said no, you’re insane. The Woman then pulled a gun and calmly shot Gilles in the head as he walked away, followed by her sitting down and waiting for police to arrive. Lucky for the neurologist, the bullet only grazed his head, and he lived for a decade more.
Through all this, Gilles was a very dedicated man, just like my “Word”. He was shot in the head, around which time his wife and role model also died, yet he kept working in an attempt to increase knowledge about Tourettes syndrome, and to prave that hypnotism was for the insane. even after being shot, that very night he wrote a letter about it, rather than sitting there and being pitiful. his dedication can also be shown since he was going up against all odds, trying to prove that people who seemed insane actually just had muscle twitches, and that people who believed in hypnotism truly were insane. Both of those subjects were contrary to the belief of most, and made it a very hard subject to prove.
Studying Gilles relates to my personal goals, since one of my goals (which hasn’t been written down in my IEP or anything) for learning and personal things is to attempt to supress my tourettes syndrome, which quite often puts me in awkward situations. By studying Gilles, I can learn more about the syndrome, and learn how I could help myself.