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Letters to the Editor   |    
A Proper Name for Chronic Tic Disorder
Jesus Ramirez-Bermudez, M.D.; Hector Perez-Rincon, M.D.
Am J Psychiatry 2010;167:1279-1279. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.2010.10040477
View Author and Article Information
Ciudad de Mexico, Mexico

accepted for publication in April 2010

The authors report no financial relationships with commercial interests.

Accepted April , 2010.

Copyright © American Psychiatric Association

To the Editor: When Georges Albert Édouard Brutus Gilles de la Tourette (1857—1904) described, at age 28, the disease of convulsive tics, he could not anticipate the taxonomic destiny of that clinical picture. As known, he gave the pioneer descriptions of patients with chronic tics, echolalia, and coprolalia (1). His writings on the clinical concept of hysteria are also well documented, with empirical observations as well as historical studies, for instance, the work on the famous Loudon case (2), which gave rise to the fine essay by Aldous Huxley ("The Devils of Loudon").

Chronic tics disorder is known as Tourettschen Krankheit in German, Maladie de Gilles de la Tourette in French, and Tourette's disorder in English (3). It is one of the very few eponyms that remain in DSM, which has eliminated most, following the example of the International Classification of Diseases.

Why was the last name of the physician, Gilles de la Tourette, abbreviated as Tourette in the 3rd and 4th editions of DSM? The name of the disorder appears in DSM-IV-TR as F95.2 Tourette Disorder (307.23). The first part of the famous physician's name is Georges Albert Edward Brutus, and his last name is Gilles de la Tourette (4). Abbreviating the last name contradicts the honor implicit in a medical eponym and is inexact in terms of linguistic science and tradition. While DSM editions have significantly improved the reliability of psychiatric diagnosis, the use of eponyms may have the quality of being neutral in terms of social stigma (compared with historical terms such as hysteria or, nowadays, schizophrenia), and thus chronic, vocal, and motor tics, which generally appear during childhood and adolescence and are still idiopathic, could be maintained for taxonomic purposes in DSM-5 with the use of an eponym: Gilles de la Tourette disorder.

Gilles de la  Tourette G:  Étude sur une affection nerveuse caractérisée par l'incoordination motrice accompagnée d'écholalie et de coprolalie.  Arch Neurol (Paris) 1885; 9:19—42 and 158—200
 
Gilles de la  Tourette G:  Soeur Jeanne des Anges supérieure des ursulines de Loudun au XVIIè s, autobiographie d'une hystérique possédée, d'après le manuscrit inédit de la bibliothèque de Tours.  Paris, Le Progrès Médical ,1886
 
 American Psychiatric Association: Diagnostic and Statistic Manual of Mental Disorders, DSM-IV-TR.  Washington, DC,  American Psychiatric Publishing, 2002
 
Walusinski   O;  Duncan   G:  Living his writings: the example of neurologist Georges Gilles de la Tourette.  Mov Disord [Epub ahead of print, July 29, 2010]
 
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References

Gilles de la  Tourette G:  Étude sur une affection nerveuse caractérisée par l'incoordination motrice accompagnée d'écholalie et de coprolalie.  Arch Neurol (Paris) 1885; 9:19—42 and 158—200
 
Gilles de la  Tourette G:  Soeur Jeanne des Anges supérieure des ursulines de Loudun au XVIIè s, autobiographie d'une hystérique possédée, d'après le manuscrit inédit de la bibliothèque de Tours.  Paris, Le Progrès Médical ,1886
 
 American Psychiatric Association: Diagnostic and Statistic Manual of Mental Disorders, DSM-IV-TR.  Washington, DC,  American Psychiatric Publishing, 2002
 
Walusinski   O;  Duncan   G:  Living his writings: the example of neurologist Georges Gilles de la Tourette.  Mov Disord [Epub ahead of print, July 29, 2010]
 
References Container
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