YouTube star Jan Zimmerman, 22, “associated with increased Tourette symptoms” among fans who mimic tics


YouTube star Jan Zimmerman has been “associated with Tourette’s heightened symptoms” among fans as they began mimicking his tics and outbursts, according to a new study.

The 22-year-old German social media star, who hosts a YouTube channel that is translated as Thunderstorm in the Brain, posts funny videos about her condition to her 2.2 million subscribers.

Doctors at Hannover Medical School were initially confused by the growing number of young people reporting physical tics associated with Tourette’s syndrome.

YouTube star Jan Zimmerman, 22, has been “linked to Tourette’s increased symptoms” among fans as they have begun to mimic his tics and outbursts, according to a new study.

But they soon found that patients were watching Zimmermann’s videos and, according to The Times, had started copying his physical tics.

The star sells clothes with some of his Tourette-led shouts and patients had started yelling at her, including “bombshell”, “you’re ugly” and “flying sharks”.

“In the past two years, an extraordinarily large number of young patients with symptoms very similar to those of Jan Zimmermann in his videos have been referred to our specialist clinic in Tourette,” write the Hanoverian doctors in the Oxford magazine Brain Press.

The Hanover-based team said the spread of symptoms among YouTuber’s followers was the first identified case of a “social media-induced mass sickness” and warned that more would follow.

The 22-year-old German social media star, who hosts a YouTube channel that translates as a thunderstorm in the brain, posts funny videos about her condition to her 2.2 million subscribers

They said Evie Meg, 20, a UK TikTokker, could be linked to a growing number of young British women who are showing symptoms, a study by University of Canada researchers found.

This comes after teenage girls experience a “tic blast” and Tourette’s syndrome caused by anxiety and stress during the block, experts warned.

Specialized clinics on London’s Great Ormond Street and Evelina Children’s Hospitals report that no more than six teenagers had tics in a year before the pandemic, but now there are three or four referrals a week, the Sunday Times reveals.

Some young women have turned to social media platforms for reassurance, but some psychologists believe it may make symptoms longer rather than relieving.

This is in stark contrast to the usual 200 cases the clinic observed in one year, 80% of which were boys ages 7 to 12.

Tics are fast, repetitive muscle movements that cause sudden, hard-to-control vibrations or body noises.

A more extreme form, Tourette’s syndrome, may include shrugging and blinking, as well as vocal tics such as tongue snapping, animal sounds, and, less commonly, profanity.

An article published in the journal Archives of Disease in Childhood suggests the change was due to the pandemic and the effects on the mental health of girls and women.

Teens have also posted videos of their symptoms on sites like TikTok to reassure each other, though psychologists warn that doing so may actually prolong their symptoms rather than help.

While this was comforting for many teenagers, created a sense of identity and broke isolation, it also helped to prolong symptoms.


Tourette’s syndrome is a neurological disorder that is characterized by a combination of sounds and involuntary movements called tics.

It usually begins in childhood and continues into adulthood. Tics can be vocal or physical.

Tourette’s syndrome is known in many cases and is often associated with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Tourette syndrome is named after the French doctor Georges Gilles de la Tourette, who first described the syndrome and its symptoms in the 19th century.

There is no cure for Tourette syndrome, but treatment can help control symptoms.

Quelle: NHS Choices


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