In Search for the Tourette Syndrome and Human Behavior Genes Dr. Comings tells the story of his years of involvement with the Tourette Syndrome, from both the level of treating thousands of patients with this common and complex disorder, to his clinical, genetic and molecular genetic research. He quickly realized this was more than just a tic disorder. His patients and their relatives had problems with a wide range of behaviors including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, obsessive-compulsive behaviors, conduct and oppositional defiant disorder, rages, mania, depression, anxiety, panic attacks, phobias, sexual, sleep, and other disorders. Because Tourette syndrome is genetic, this involvement with a spectrum of disorders had broad implications about the causes of behaviors that most mental health workers attributed to psychological problems, poor parenting, or learned behaviors. His genetic studies led him to eventually conclude that Tourette syndrome was a polygenic disorder, caused by the coming together from both parents of a number of genes affecting dopamine, serotonin and other brain chemicals. Dr. Comings relates how the concept that many human behavioral disorders were genetically interrelated was initially ridiculed. These attitudes began to change as others reported similar findings and as this concept gained support from molecular genetic studies of specific genes.
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What Reviewers Have Said
"David Comings´ new book is ...at once a detective story, a scientific essay, and a study in the folly of human nature. It is also a love-story. This book lays bare to the reader all the
intrigue and meticulous care that occupy the life of a professional gene hunter, as he recounts the history of his latest foray into uncharted territory of the human genome.."
-- John Ratey, M.D., Author of Driven to Distraction