Eponyms in Neurology

Eponyms are found all throughout medicine and perhaps there is no field more steeped in a rich collection of eponyms than neurology.  As a young student I found eponymous signs and disease names to be antiquated and cumbersome to remember.  When trying to learn the fundamentals of patient care, the names of historic clinicians seemed superfluous, and I held the belief that they had little to teach us about the practice of modern medicine.

Years later I began to understand the historical significance of the discoveries of some of these great thinkers in neurology.  Identifying these signs and diseases allows us the unique opportunity to view the patient’s history and exam through the eyes of Charcot or Babinski who were not afforded the same luxuries of advanced imaging we have today.

In the few short weeks of 2017 we have already had some wonderful submissions to the R&F section discussing some of these eponymous findings.  In one example Dr. Karwa and colleagues presented a case in Clinical Reasoning of a patient with oculobulbar dysfunction and discuss Miller Fisher syndrome.  Dr. Charles Miller Fisher is probably best known for his detailed description of lacunar stroke syndromes and the association of carotid disease with ischemic strokes.  I still wonder why he would choose to have his name forever attached to an autoimmune condition and not his favorite lacunar stroke?

There are many more great examples of eponyms throughout the R&F section.  We invite you to submit to E-pearls, Teaching NeuroImage or any other section with cases exemplifying these findings and diseases which have so much to teach us about neurology.

Benjamin Claytor

Benjamin Claytor

Editorial Team Member

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