25 non-eponymous neurological disorders…and their pioneers

Neurology is as much defined by its diseases as by the people who named them. In many cases, it is a no brainer that Benjamin Duchenne described Duchenne muscular dystrophy, and that Charle’s Bell is linked to Bell’s palsy. Similarly, it goes without saying that Guido Werdnig and Johann Hoffmann defined Werdnig-Hoffmann disease, and that Sergei Korsakoff depicted Korsakoff’s psychosis. The same goes for Adolf Wallenberg and Wallenberg’s syndrome, and Augusta Dejerine Klumpke with Klumpke’s paralysis

Reunion of neurologists at the Salpêtrière hospital. Photograph, 1926 https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=36322408

But whilst we celebrate George Huntington, Alois Alzheimer, and James Parkinson for the syndromes that bear their names, we must remember that many diseases never got labelled with the names of their discoverers. Who, for example, defined narcolepsy and delirium tremens? This blog post is therefore an ode to the faceless and nameless neurology icons whose contributions are at risk of being forgotten in the mist of time. To inject some fairness into the naming game, here are 25 non-eponymous neurological diseases and the people who discovered, defined, or named them.


Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)

Jean-Martin Charcot

Készítette: Unidentified photographerhttp://resource.nlm.nih.gov/101425121, Közkincs, Hivatkozás



Francis Galton and Adam Zeman



Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP)

Peter J Dyck

By Dr. Jana – http://docjana.com/#/saltatory ; https://www.patreon.com/posts/4374048, CC BY 4.0, Link


Corticobasal degeneration (CBD)

WRG Gibb, PJ Luthert, and C David Marsden





Hippocrates. Eden, Janine and Jim on Flickr. https://www.flickr.com/photos/edenpictures/8278213840


Essential tremor

Pietro Burresi

By UndescribedOwn work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link


Frontotemporal dementia (FTD)

Arnold Pick



Inclusion body myositis (IBM)

E J Yunis and F J Samaha

CC BY-SA 3.0, Link



Vladimir Kernig and Jozef Brudzinski




Aretaeus of Cappadocia

By Cesaree01Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link


Multiple sclerosis (MS)

Jean-Martin Charcot

Journal.pone.0057573.g005http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0057573#pone-0057573-g005. Licensed under CC BY 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons.


Multiple system atrophy (MSA)

Milton Shy and Glen Drager

By Kenneth J. Nichols,Brandon Chen, Maria B. Tomas, and Christopher J. Palestro – Kenneth J. Nichols et al. 2018. Interpreting 123I–ioflupane dopamine transporter scans using hybrid scores., CC BY 4.0, Link


Myasthenia gravis (MG)

Samuel Wilks

By Unknown authorhttp://ihm.nlm.nih.gov/images/B25782, Public Domain, Link 


Myotonic dystrophy

Hans Gustav Wilhelm Steinert

By Unknown author – reprinted in [1], Public Domain, Link 



Friedrich Daniel von Recklighausen

By Unknown authorIHM, Public Domain, Link 



Jean-Baptiste-Edouard Gélineau




Michael Underwood

By Manuel Almagro RivasOwn work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link


Progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP)

John Steele, John Richardson, and Jerzy Olszewski

By Dr Laughlin Dawes – radpod.org, CC BY 3.0, Link


Restless legs syndrome (RLS)

Karl Axel Ekbom

By Peter McDermott, CC BY-SA 2.0, Link


Stiff person syndrome (SPS)

Frederick Moersch and Henry Woltmann

By PecatumOwn work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link



Georg Sachs and Gustav Feschner

Synaesthesia. aka Tman on Flickr. https://www.flickr.com/photos/rundwolf/7001467111/




Neuroimaging in Acute Stroke.Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0), CC BY 4.0, Link


Tabes dorsalis

Moritz Romberg

h Link


Trigeminal neuralgia

John Fothergill

G Link


Tuberous sclerosis

Désiré-Magloire Bourneville




Let us then celebrate the pioneers…eponymous and anonymous alike.


What’s in a name? Jack Dorsey on Flickr. https://www.flickr.com/photos/jackdorsey/170257936


To explore these disease further…

Go online at Neurochecklists.com


Or get the book, 700 Essential Neurology Checklists

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