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Postgrad Med J 84:313-317 doi:10.1136/jnnp.2007.114520
  • Review

Mozart’s movements and behaviour: a case of Tourette’s syndrome?

  1. A Ashoori,
  2. J Jankovic
  1. Parkinson Disease Center and Movement Disorder Clinic, Department of Neurology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, USA
  1. Professor Joseph Jankovic, Director, Parkinson’s Disease Center, and Movement Disorders Clinic, Baylor College of Medicine, Department of Neurology, The Smith Tower, Suite 1801, 6550 Fannin, Houston, TX 77030, USA; josephj{at}bcm.tmc.edu
  • Received 3 January 2007
  • Revised 9 February 2007
  • Accepted 23 February 2007

Abstract

In this review, we intend to explore the often asked question: “Did Mozart have Tourette’s syndrome?” Although there are numerous reports attributing Mozart’s peculiar personality and behaviour to a spectrum of neurobehavioural disorders such as Tourette’s syndrome, autistic disorder, Asperger’s syndrome, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, obsessive–compulsive disorder and paediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders associated with streptococcal infection, the evidence for any of these disorders is lacking. Whether Mozart’s behaviour was nothing more than a reflection of his unique personality or a more complex neurological disorder, aggravated later in life by enormous demands by his father and society, his behaviour has been the subject of many biographies. It will also remain unknown to what extent his accomplishments and failures were shaped by his childhood experiences, pressured lifestyle, and his innate genius and extraordinary talent. Lessons from his life may have important implications for other gifted individuals and savants whose special attributes may lead them to succeed or, on the other hand, suppress their emotional growth and make them more vulnerable to stress and failure.

Footnotes

  • Competing interests: None.