Georges Albert Édouard Brutus Gilles de la Tourette

Giles Tourette

Born 30 October 1857, Died 26 May 1904 Georges Albert Édouard Brutus Gilles de la Tourette was a French physician who could be classified today as a neurologist who is the eponym of Tourette syndrome, a neurological condition. He was born in “the small town of Saint-Gervais-les-Trois-Clochers, in the district of Châtellerault near the city of Loudun, France”, and died in Lausanne, Switzerland.

During 1873 Tourette began medical studies at Poitiers. He later relocated to Paris where he became a student, amanuensis and house physician of his mentor, the influential contemporary neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot, director of the Salpêtrière Hospital. Charcot also helped him to advance 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 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.