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History of Neurology
March 2001

How Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Got Its Name: The Clinical-Pathologic Genius of Jean-Martin Charcot

Author Affiliations

Copyright 2001 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.2001

Arch Neurol. 2001;58(3):512-515. doi:10.1001/archneur.58.3.512

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) occupies a unique place in the history of human disease in general and in neurological disease in particular. Charcot was the one who deduced the relationship between the clinical signs and the findings at autopsy. In his 1874 description,1 Charcot established the clinicopathologic approach that has dominated medical nosology ever since. In the latter half of the 19th century, diseases were defined by autopsy findings.