Georges Gilles de la Tourette

Georges Gilles de la Tourette

Georges Albert Édouard Brutus Gilles de la Tourette (October 30 1857 in Saint-Gervais-les-Trois-Clochers near Poitou, France — May 26, 1904 in Lausanne, Switzerland) was a French neurologist who is the eponym of Tourette syndrome, a neurological condition.

In 1873 Tourette began medical studies at Poitiers. He later moved to Paris where he became a student, Secretary and house physician of his mentor, the influential contemporary neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot, director of the Salpêtrière Hospital. Charcot also helped him to rise in his academic career. Tourette studied and lectured in psychotherapy, hysteria and medical and legal ramifications of mesmerism (modern-day hypnosis).

Tourette described the symptoms of Tourette syndrome in nine patients in 1884, using the name "maladie des tics". Charcot renamed the syndrome "Gilles de la Tourette's illness" in his honor.

In 1893 (or 1896) a former female patient shot Tourette in the head, claiming he had hypnotized her against her will. Both Tourette and many modern hypnologists state that this is impossible. His mentor, Charcot, had recently died, and his young son had also recently died tragically. After these events he began to have mood swings between depression and hypomania. Nevertheless, he organized public lectures where he spoke about literacy, mesmerism and theatre.

Tourette published an article on hysteria in the German Army, which angered Bismarck, and a further article about unhygienic conditions in the floating hospitals on the river Thames. With Gabriel Legue he analyzed abbess Jeanne des Anges' account of her hysteria that was allegedly based of her unrequited love for a priest Urbain Grandier, who was later burned for witchcraft.

Around 1902 Tourette's condition worsened and he was removed from his post.

Gilles de la Tourette died on May 26, 1904 in a psychiatric hospital in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Some writings of Gilles de la TouretteEdit

  • L'hypnotisme et les états analogues au point de vue médico-légal (Paris, 1887; 2nd. edition Paris 1889)
  • Traité clinique et thérapeutique de l’hystérie d’après l’enseignement de la Salpêtrière (Paris 1891)
  • Les actualités médicales, les états neurasthéniques (Paris 1898)
  • Leçons de clinique thérapeutique sur les maladies du système nerveux (Paris 1898)
  • Les actualités médicales. Formes cliniques et traitement des myélites syphilitiques (Paris 1899)
  • La maladie des tics convulsifs (La semaine médicale 1899)


  • A.J. Lees - Georges Gilles de la Tourette: The Man And His Times (Paris 1986) [1]

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