THE credit for discovering a "new disease" is often given not to the one who describes it first but to the one who describes it when the time is ripe. Thus, Virchow,1 Schultze,2 and others had reported cases of peroneal atrophy previously, but in 1886 medical knowledge had advanced sufficiently to accept this entity as a nosologic addition. The simultaneous publications by Charcot and Marie in France and by Tooth3 in England do not attest to coincidence but to the fact that the medical world was ready to appreciate the finer clinical distinctions existing within the large group of progressive muscular atrophies.
Jean Martin Charcot and his pupil Pierre Marie carefully studied the multitude of infirm and paralytic inmates at the Salpêtrière, an asylum in Paris, and left a scientific discipline where there had been a muddle.4 Their description of peroneal atrophy is only one
Brody IA, Wilkins RH. Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease. Arch Neurol. 1967;17(5):552–553. doi:10.1001/archneur.1967.00470290106015