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J Hist Neurosci. 2010 Jul;19(3):221-7. doi: 10.1080/09647040902872775.

A neurological mystery from history: the case of Claudius Caesar.

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  • 1Department of Community-Based Medicine, University of Bristol, Canynge Hall, Whatley Road, BS8 2PS, UK.


The Roman emperor Claudius suffered from a wide range of physical tics and disabilities. Many scholars have explained these symptoms by hypothesizing that Claudius suffered from cerebral palsy. However, this hypothesis is dated and does not take into account all of the evidence available. This article re-examines ancient historical sources in the light of modern medical knowledge in an attempt to retrospectively diagnose the cause of Claudius's problems. In doing so, it suggests that Claudius may have suffered from Tourette's syndrome.

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