- A dictionary of medical eponyms

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From Dr. Walusinski’s article:
Myxoedema in Lower Brittany
After writing to Jean-Martin Charcot (1825-1893) in 1875, Morvan published his correspondence in the Gazette Hebdomadaire de Médecine et de Chirurgie in 1881: "I believe I have observed an as-yet undescribed disease in Brittany, but I fear I am lacking in knowledge and thus appeal to your expertise. This disease is specific to women; at least until now I have not encountered it in men. It is characterised by anasarca and incomplete paralysis, but does not entail muscular atrophy or degradation of mental faculties. In other words, it is not explained by any known disease, no more so than oedema is explained by an infection of the heart or kidneys. Facial swelling, which coincides with slow speech and hoarseness, is pathognomonic.. . . . There is always pronounced muscular weakness, but never to the point that it prevents walking. . . . . All of our patients are very sensitive to cold". In 1875, Morvan was thus the first to describe the semiology of what would become hypothyroidism.

He continued: "If this disease has not been described, I intend to gather my eight observations together into a little study. I would be greatly obliged if you would allow me to call upon your erudition, if necessary.. . . . Not obtaining a response as early as we wished, and believing that perhaps Monsieur Charcot, with whom we had no previous contact, reserved his time for more pressing obligations, we called upon our old colleague Verneuil. . . . . We received a response from Monsieur Charcot. He apologised for not responding earlier, but he took advantage of the time elapsed to search his memory and the medical publications over and over, where he found nothing similar. He concluded by strongly advising us to publish our observations.


A. Morvan:
Du myxœdème en Basse Bretagne. 1875.

A. Morvan:
Contribution à l'étude du myxoedème en Basse Bretagne.
Gazette Hebdomadaire de Médecine et de Chirurgie, 1881, série 2, 18 (34): 542-545.
Gazette Hebdomadaire de Médecine et de Chirurgie, 1881, série 2, 18 (35): 557-560, 573-578, 590-592.

Pierre. Merklen, 1852-1906:
Sur un cas de myxoedème amelioré par la greffe thyroïdienne.
Bulletins et mémoires de la Société médicale des hôpitaux de Paris, Paris, 1890, 7 : 859.

P. Merklen:
Sur un cas de myxoedème. British Medical Journal, 1890, 1258 (2).

What is an eponym?

An eponym is a word derived from the name of a person, whether real or fictional. A medical eponym is thus any word related to medicine, whose name is derived from a person.

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Whonamedit.com is a biographical dictionary of medical eponyms. It is our ambition to present a complete survey of all medical phenomena named for a person, with a biography of that person.


Whonamedit? does not give medical advice.
This survey of medical eponyms and the persons behind them is meant as a general interest site only. No information found here must under any circumstances be used for medical purposes, diagnostically, therapeutically or otherwise. If you, or anybody close to you, is affected, or believe to be affected, by any condition mentioned here: see a doctor.