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February 1939

HEMIBALLISMUS: A Clinicopathologic Study

Author Affiliations

Rochester, Minn.

From the Section on Neurology (Dr. Moersch) and the Section on Surgical Pathology (Dr. Kernohan), the Mayo Clinic.

Arch NeurPsych. 1939;41(2):365-372. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1939.02270140151012

According to Oppenheim,1 the term "hemiballismus" was first employed by Kussmaul2 to describe a certain type of hemichorea which Mitchell3 and Charcot4 previously had referred to as "posthemiplegic chorea," a term which never had the approval of Gowers.5 At about the same time (1871) Hammond6 introduced into the neurologic literature the term "athetosis." It is evident that these early writers recognized a difference between the movement patterns of tremor chorea and athetosis.

In spite of the fact that these disorders of movement could be distinguished clinically, it was assumed that they represented different methods of motor expression and were the result of a diffuse lesion involving part or the whole of the basal ganglia rather than of any specific and focal lesion in these structures. Bonhoeffer7 was one of the first to attribute chorea definitely to a subthalamic lesion, although as early as