Science at the World Cup: Tourette's Syndrome and Vuvuzelas

Team USA's World Cup dreams may have been dashed by Ghana over the weekend, but there's nary a bad word to be said by the performance of its goalkeeper, Tim Howard, who again proved he's capable of hanging with his peers from the global soccer powerhouses. But besides his spectacular saves, the one thing World Cup coverage has brought to our attention is that Howard has Tourette's Syndrome, a disorder of the nervous system that causes involuntary movements and would seem to disqualify one from an occupation where precise muscle control is paramount. But as our neurobloggers David Dobbs and Jonah Lehrer show, there may be neurological advantages associated with Tourette's that might be at work to improve Howard's timing. And what would a World Cup Buzz be without a nod to the buzzer of the moment, the vuvuzela? Courtesy of Matt Srpinger at Built on Facts, we see that the principle behind laser safety goggles can be applied to neutralize the vuvuzela's uniquely terrible sound.

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