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Arthur K. Shapiro

Arthur K. Shapiro (1923–1995), was a psychiatrist and expert on Tourette syndrome. His "contributions to the understanding of Tourette syndrome completely changed the prevailing view of this disorder";[1] he has been described as "the father of modern tic disorder research".[2]

Until the early 1970s, psychoanalysis was the preferred intervention for Tourette syndrome.[3] Shapiro wanted to prove that Tourette's was an organic disorder, and that psychotherapy was not the treatment of choice.[1] A turning point in understanding of Tourette syndrome came in 1965, when Dr. Shapiro and his wife, Elaine Shapiro (Ph.D.), treated a Tourette’s patient with haloperidol (Haldol). The Shapiros reported the treatment in a 1968 article, published by the British Journal of Psychiatry, after it was rejected by American journals.[1] The paper severely criticized the psychoanalytic approach, which had endured throughout the previous century, to treating the condition.[3]

Working with the New York patient families who founded the Tourette Syndrome Association (TSA) in 1972, the Shapiros advanced the argument that Tourette's was neurological rather than psychological, and the medical view of Tourette syndrome was freed from the discredited psychoanalytic theory.[3] Since the 1990s, a more neutral view of Tourette's is emerging[4] as a condition involving an interaction between biological vulnerability and adverse environmental events.[5] In 1978, the Shapiros published a landmark book on the disorder, Gilles de la Tourette Syndrome.

A colleague, Ruth Bruun, described Arthur Shapiro as a revolutionary, "willing to challenge the prevailing dogma", "dynamic, charming, and relentlessly stubborn when fighting for what he thought was right", "an engaging speaker", "a man of diverse interests and enthusiams", and a collector of medical antiques. Bruun also said, "It is extremely unusual for a couple of researchers to completely change the prevailing view of a disease, but this is exactly what they did."[1]

The Shapiros were married for 46 years, and "were obviously devoted to each other".[1] After Arthur's death, Elaine published their last joint effort, The Powerful Placebo : From Ancient Priest to Modern Physician.


  1. ^ a b c d e Cohen DJ, Jankovic J, Goetz CG, (eds). Advances in Neurology, Vol. 85, Tourette Syndrome. Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins, Philadelphia, PA, 2001., pp. xvii–xviii.
  2. ^ Gadow KD, Sverd J. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, chronic tic disorder, and methylphenidate. Adv Neurol. 2006;99:197–207. PMID 16536367
  3. ^ a b c Pagewise, Inc. Tourette syndrome. Accessed 29 June 2006.
  4. ^ Black, KJ. Tourette Syndrome and Other Tic Disorders. eMedicine (March 22, 2006). Accessed 27 June 2006.
  5. ^ Leckman JF, Cohen DJ. Tourette's Syndrome—Tics, Obsessions, Compulsions: Developmental Psychopathology and Clinical Care. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York, 1999, p. vii.

Further reading

  • Shapiro, Arthur K., Shapiro, Elaine, Shapiro, J., et al. Gilles De La Tourette Syndrome. Raven Press Ltd; 2nd edition (January 1988).
  • Shapiro, Arthur K., Shapiro, Elaine. The Powerful Placebo : From Ancient Priest to Modern Physician. The Johns Hopkins University Press; New Ed edition (October 17, 2000)
  • Kushner, HI. A Cursing Brain? : The Histories of Tourette Syndrome. Harvard University Press, 2000. ISBN 0-674-00386-1
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Arthur_K._Shapiro". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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