- A dictionary of medical eponyms

Hammond's disease

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A disturbance with onset months after birth when complex motor activity develops, such as sitting, standing, and walking.

It is characterised by slow, writhing, purposeless movements mainly affecting the hands and face, with forced laughter and crying. Disturbance of posture is mainly contractures in position with flexion of the knees. There is also disturbance of tonus with over stretchable joint. Besides athetosis spastic and cerebral signs also occur. Lesions of the midbrain, thalamic nuclei, pallidostratium, and internal capsule of the cerebral cortex are the cause of this disorder. Most patients are good-natured and have normal intelligence. Premature infants frequently affected. Both dominant and recessive autosomal types.

The term ”athetosis” means ”without fixed position”.

In his assessment of the two cases, Hammond found reason to remark: ”the analogies of the affection are with chorea and cerebro-spinal sclerosis, but is neither of these diseases. One probable seat of the morbid process is in the corpus striatum.”


  • W. A. Hammond:
    Treatise on diseases of the nervous system.
    New York, 1871. Pp. 654-662 Athetosis.
    Medical Times and Gazette, London, 1871, 2: 747-748.
  • C. Vogt:
    Quelques considérations générales à propos du syndrome due Corps strié.
    Journal für Psychologie und Neurologie, 1911, 18: 479-429.
  • C. Vogt, O. Vogt:
    Zur Lehre der Erkrankungen des Striäten Systems.
    Journal für Psychologie und Neurologie, 1920, 25: 627-846.

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