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May 1961

False Localizing Signs: A Review of the Concept and Analysis of the Occurrence in 250 Cases of Intracranial Meningioma

Author Affiliations

Postgraduate Fellow, National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Blindness, U.S. Public Health Service.

Arch Neurol. 1961;4(5):526-554. doi:10.1001/archneur.1961.00450110056007

Introduction  False localizing signs of intracranial tumors are signs not generally associated with disturbances of function at the site of the tumor. They are usually attributed to local disturbances at a distance from the mass, and, as such, may cause confusion in clinical localization.A polemic has arisen regarding the propriety of the term "false localizing sign." One objection is that "false localizing sign" implies a deficiency in the observer (equivalent of "masked hyperthyroidism" implying that the clinician is masked). This is a frivolous objection. It confuses a sign with a diagnosis. A clinical diagnosis is formulated by comprehensive evaluation of all signs. Further, this report will demonstrate that on clinical grounds some false localizations are unavoidable. "False localizing sign" emphasizes the potential error and has the additional merit of conveying the meaning of the concept without comment on the pathogenesis, which is not established in all of the signs.

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