- A dictionary of medical eponyms

Hallervorden-Spatz syndrome

Related people

A very rare disease beginning in childhood, with degeneration of the globus pallidus, red nucleus, and reticular part of the substantia nigra of the brain. It is characterized by progressive Parkinson-like rigidity, athetotic movements, and progressive mental and emotional retardation. Onset is in late childhood; death usually occurs within 10 years, but courses of up to 30 years have been described. Aetiology unknown; considered one form of iron storage disease. A heredo-familial syndrome, inherited as an autosomal recessive trait; some unrelated cases reported

The original description concerned a sibship of 12 in which 5 sisters showed clinically increasing dysarthria and progressive dementia, and at autopsy brown discoloration of the globus pallidus and substantia nigra.


  • J. Hallervorden, H. Spatz:
    Eigenartige Erkrankung im extrapyramidalen System mot besonderer Beteiligung des Globus pallidus und der Substantia nigra: Ein Beitrag zu den Beziehungen zwischen diesen beiden Zentren.
    Zeitschrift für die gesamte Neurologie und Psychiatrie, 1922, 79: 254-302.
  • S. Gilman, R. E. Barrett:
    Hallervorden-Spatz disease and infantile neuroaxonal dystrophy: Clinical characteristics and nosological considerations.
    Journal of Neurological Sciences, Amsterdam, 1973, 19: 189-205.

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.

What is Whonamedit?

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.