Discovery Fit & Health
A number of famous people have Tourette syndrome, including actor Dan Aykroyd and the "Big Brother" reality-show guy Pete Bennett. Samuel Johnson, the dictionary author, had it too, as does goalie Tim Howard of the Manchester United Football Club. Other athletes with Tourette's include former Major League Baseball player Jim Eisenreich and former NBA star Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart may have had Tourette, some speculate. But there is no definitive proof he did.
Tourette syndrome is a neurological condition that manifests in sufferers through frequent verbal and motor tics of varying severity that are largely involuntary (there is some measure of control patients can assert, though it may only forestall stronger symptoms to come). The symptoms can disappear and reappear, and onset of the disorder occurs by the age of 18. The cause of the disorder is not yet known, there is no cure and a person with Tourette has a 50 percent chance of passing it on the gene to his or her offspring. It's often accompanied by milder obsessive compulsive. The condition does not debilitate the life of the sufferer, and a number of drugs (such as haloperidol) can help control its symptoms [source: Tourette Syndrome Association].
There are some popularized misconceptions about Tourette syndrome (also called Tourette's). For example, the stereotype is that everyone with this disorder blurts out random swear words and is twitching all the time. Also, many people believe Tourette is rare condition.
First, Tourette syndrome isn't rare at all. In fact, it happens to an estimated one out of every 200 people. Second, the twitching happens intermittently. While some people have motor tics every single day, other people endure them less often. And the motor tics can be as quiet as blinking or as loud as foot stomping.
Finally, the excessive swearing with which it is associated in the public's mind happens to fewer than 15 percent of those with Tourette syndrome.
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