25 non-eponymous neurological disorders… and the names behind them

Medicine is as much defined by diseases as by the people who named them. Neurology particularly has a proud history of eponymous disorders which I discussed in my other neurology blog, Neurochecklists Updates, with the title 45 neurological disorders with unusual EPONYMS in neurochecklists. In many cases, it is a no brainer that Benjamin Duchenne described Duchenne muscular dystrophy, Charle’s Bell is linked to Bell’s palsy, Guido Werdnig and Johann Hoffmann have Werdnig-Hoffmann disease named after them. Similarly, Sergei Korsakoff described Korsakoff’s psychosis, Adolf Wellenberg defined Wellenberg’s syndrome, and it is Augusta Dejerine Klumpke who discerned Klumpke’s paralysis. The same applies to neurological clinical signs, with Moritz Romberg and Romberg’s sign, Henreich Rinne and Rinne’s test, Jules Babinski and Babinski sign, and Joseph Brudzinski with Brudzinki’s sign.

Yes, it could become rather tiresome. But not when it comes to diseases which, for some reason, never had any names attached to them. Whilst we can celebrate Huntington, Alzheimer, Parkinson, and Friedreich, who defined narcolepsy and delirium tremens? This blog is therefore a chance to celebrate the lesser known history of neurology, and to inject some fairness into the name game. Here then are 25 non-eponymous neurological diseases and the people who discovered, fully described, 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)

By Eveleen Myers (née Tennant) – http://www.npg.org.uk/collections/search/portrait/mw127193, Public Domain, Link

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, 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

By Unknown authorhttp://www.uic.edu/depts/mcne/founders/page0073.html, Public Domain, Link

Inclusion body myositis (IBM)

E J Yunis and F J Samaha

CC BY-SA 3.0, Link


Vladimir Kernig and Jozef Brudzinski

By A. F. Dressler – Festschrift zum 70. Geburtstag Dr. Woldemar Kernig’s: Von Verehrern und Schülern herausgegeben als Festnummer der St. Petersburger medicinischen Wochenschrift St. Petersburger medizinische Wochenschrift, Bd. 35, Nr. 45. (1910), Public Domain, Link


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 


Friedreich 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/



By editShazia Mirza and Sankalp GokhaleSee also source article for additional image creators. – editShazia Mirza and Sankalp Gokhale (2016-07-25). Neuroimaging in Acute Stroke.Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0), CC BY 4.0, Link

Tabes dorsalis

Moritz Romberg

By https://wellcomeimages.org/indexplus/obf_images/39/1d/edecf5a530781f5c10603a50fa35.jpghttps://wellcomecollection.org/works/gctr3stg CC-BY-4.0, CC BY 4.0, Link

Trigeminal neuralgia

John Fothergill

By Gilbert Stuarthttp://www.pafa.org/Museum/The-Collection-Greenfield-American-Art-Resource/Tour-the-Collection/Category/Collection-Detail/985/mkey–1923/, Public Domain, Link

Tuberous sclerosis

Désiré-Magloire Bourneville

By Unknown author – Bibliothèque Interuniversitaire de Médecine – http://www.bium.univ-paris5.fr/images/banque/zoom/CIPB0452.jpg, Public Domain, Link


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


Let us then celebrate the pioneers…

Eponymous and anonymous alike

How does CSF analysis distinguish MS from neurosarcoidosis?

Distinguishing neurosarcoidosis from multiple sclerosis based on CSF analysis: A retrospective cohort study. Arun T, Pattison L, Palace J. Neurology 2020 (online ahead of print) Abstract Objective: To characterize a cohort of patients with neurosarcoidosis with particular focus on CSF analysis and to investigate whether CSF values could help in distinguishing it from multiple sclerosis […]

via How does CSF analysis distinguish MS from neurosarcoidosis? — Neurochecklists Blog

Is thrombolysis beneficial when time of stroke onset is unknown?

Efficacy and safety of thrombolytic therapy for stroke with unknown time of onset: a meta-analysis of observational studies. Zhu RL, Xu J, Xie CJ, Hu Y, Wang K. J Stroke Cerebrovasc Dis 2020 (Epub ahead of print). Abstract BACKGROUND: Recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (rt-PA) is one of the most effective therapies available for patients with […]

via Is thrombolysis beneficial when time of stroke onset is unknown? — Neurochecklists Blog

Does breastfeeding influence the risk of postpartum MS relapses?

Association between breastfeeding and postpartum multiple sclerosis relapses: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Krysko KM, Rutatangwa A, Graves J, Lazar A, Waubant E. JAMA Neurol 2019 (Epub ahead of print). Abstract BACKGROUND: Multiple sclerosis (MS) relapses may be increased in the postpartum period, and whether breastfeeding is associated with reduction in the risk of postpartum […]

via Does breastfeeding influence the risk of postpartum MS relapses? — Neurochecklists Blog

Patient H.M.

Patient H. M. Author: Luke Dittrich Synopsis This is a unique and even controversial biography of a person the author described as ‘the most studied individual in the history of neuroscience’ (page 8). Patient H.M., now known to be Henry Molaison, perhaps more than any other patient, helped to delineate how the brain functions. What […]

via Patient H.M. — The Doctors Bookshelf

10 more catchy titles from the recent neurology literature

How effective is stem cell transplantation for NMO?

Autologous nonmyeloablative hematopoietic stem cell transplantation for neuromyelitis optica. Burt RK, Balabanov R, Han X, et al. Neurology 2019; 93:e1732-e1741. Abstract OBJECTIVE: To determine if autologous nonmyeloablative hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) could be a salvage therapy for neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD). METHODS: Thirteen patients were enrolled in a prospective open-label cohort study (11 […]

via How effective is stem cell transplantation for NMO? — Neurochecklists Blog


Remembering Author: Donald G McKay Synopsis This book is about Patient HM, probably the most important patient in the history of neuroscience because of what his brain revealed about how memory works. Known since his death by his real name, Henry Molaison, he developed profound amnesia following brain surgery to treat uncontrolled epilepsy, and the […]

via Remembering — The Doctors Bookshelf

Permanent Present Tense

Permanent Present Tense Author: Suzanne Corkin Synopsis Henry Molaison, known throughout his life as Patient H.M, is the fateful neuroscience patient whose misfortune completely redefined our understanding of the inner workings of the brain. This book explores the amnesia Henry developed following unprecedented brain surgery for severe epilepsy, a unique disability that made him ‘the gold […]

via Permanent Present Tense — The Doctors Bookshelf