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Front Neurol Neurosci. 2007;22:184-92.

Mozart in the neurological department - who has the tic?

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of Ulm, Ulm, Germany.


In Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's medical history quite an impressive list of possible diseases has been collected. In the 1980s the diagnosis of Tourette's syndrome was added to the list. Evidence of vocal tics was derived from the scatological expressions found in the letters of Mozart. In addition there are a few contemporary reports on striking motor behavior suggesting the existence of motor tics. However, in a critical light the arguments for the diagnosis are quite weak. Most problematic is the concept that involuntary vocal utterances are transferred to the written form. One would expect to find similar written manifestations of vocal tics in the work of authors suffering from Tourette's syndrome. This is neither the case in the work of Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) nor in that of André Malraux (1901-1976). In conclusion, Tourette's syndrome is an inventive but implausible diagnosis in the medical history of Mozart.

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