A documentary to be screened in October by Britain's Channel 4 television network, suggests that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart may have suffered from Tourette's Syndrome.
Also called Tourette's Disorder, or Gilles de la Tourette's Syndrome, Tourette Syndrome is an inherited neurological disorder characterized by repeated involuntary movements and uncontrollable vocal sounds called tics. In a few cases, such tics can include inappropriate words and phrases.
The British composer James McConnel, a Tourette's sufferer himself, claims that letters and music written by the composer hint at a likelihood of Tourette's Syndrome.
According to McConnel, Mozart's fascination with wordplay and obsession nature, as well as his documented twitching all pointed to him being a Tourette's sufferer.
The syndrome occurs worldwide in all races and is usually inherited. It is named after Georges Gilles de la Tourette, who first described it in 1885; it has been suggested that the English author Samuel Johnson may have suffered from a form of the disease, based on contemporary descriptions of his facial tics and of the strange vocalizations interrupting his normal speech.
The majority of people with Tourette's Syndrome require no medication, but medication is available to help when symptoms interfere with functioning. Tourette's Syndrome medications are only able to help reduce specific symptoms. Neuroleptic and antihypertensive drugs can have long- and short-term side effects, and use of stimulants is controversial.
There is no cure for Tourette's Syndrome; however, the condition in many individuals improves as they mature. Individuals with Tourette's Syndrome can expect to live a normal life span. Although Tourette's Syndrome is generally lifelong and chronic, it is not degenerative. In a few cases, complete remission occurs after adolescence.