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, Joseph 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

Who are on the line-up of the WESAN Exeter Neurology course in 2017?

The West of England Seminars in Advanced Neurology (WESAN) is an annual course convened by Neurologists at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital. You may check out the previous programmes listed in the blog post tilted What has the Exeter Neurology Course accomplished in the last decade. You may also learn more about WESAN in the blog post titled A short history of WESAN. 

Exeter Cathedral timelapse. Joe Dunckley on Flikr. https://www.flickr.com/photos/steinsky/894007623

The WESAN programme this year, as usual, is an exquisite balance of topics covering the spectrum of neurological specialisms. The agenda is a fine blend of new and old topics, delivered by experts at the cutting edge of their fields.


The Rougement Hotel Exeter. Robert Cutts on Flikr. https://www.flickr.com/photos/panr/5542700403

So what has WESAN lined up for 2017? Here are the topics and speakers


 Functional Neurological Disorders-The Assessment as Treatment

Jon Stone, Professor of Functional Neurology at Edinburgh


The Neurology of Amnesia

Adam Zeman, Professor of Cognitive Neurology at Exeter 


Advances in the Diagnosis of Neurogenetic Disorders

Julia Rankin, Consultant Clinical Geneticist at Exeter 


Emerging Treatable Autoimmune Disorders of the CNS

Sarosh Irani, Associate Professor of Neurology at Oxford 


Movement Disorders: A Video Presentation

Kailash Bhatia, Professor of Clinical Neurology at Queen Square 


Cold Injury in the Royal Navy

Paul Hughes, Neurologist at Haywards Heath 


Hepatitis E and the Nervous System

Harry Dalton, Consultant Hepatologist at Truro


The mTORopathies-What the Neurologist Needs to Know

Finbarr O’Callaghan, Reader in Paediatric Neuroscience at Great Ormond Street Hospital  


Refractory Epilepsy: Hope is not a Strategy

Hannah Cock, Professor of Neurology at St George’s Hospital 


Looking Back on a Career in Neurology – Some Things I Would Probably Have Done Differently

Nick Fletcher, Consultant Neurologist (rtd) at the Walton Centre 


Ganglioside Antibodies and the Landscape of Immune Neuropathies

Hugh Willison, Professor of Neurology at Glasgow 


Metabolic Muscle Diseases

Jon Walters, Consultant Neurologist at Swansea 


MS: Emerging Treatments and Treatment of Progressive Disease

Claire Rice, Consultant Neurologist at Bristol  


You may register for WESAN Exeter now

Follow WESAN on twitter: @wesanexeter

By FranzfotoOwn work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Aphantasia: imagine not being able to imagine

Unless you are on another planet where the BBC doesn’t reach, you must have heard of this new buzzword. The BBC feature titled a life without mental images, made interesting listening. And Adam Zeman was as clear as always in his description of the phenomenon called aphantasia. Imagine being unable to imagine?

Lennon Imagine. wdr3 on Flikr. https://www.flickr.com/photos/wdr3/1045283154
Lennon Imagine. wdr3 on Flikr. https://www.flickr.com/photos/wdr3/1045283154

I however recommend Adam’s blog on this condition-a masterpiece! If on the other hand you prefer a harder take on it, then read his paper in Cortex (if you can break through Elsevier’s gauntlet).