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History of Neurology: Neurology was there
July 2001

Prosper Ménière and His Disease

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Neurology and Division of Head and Neck Surgery, University of California School of Medicine, Los Angeles.



Arch Neurol. 2001;58(7):1151-1156. doi:10.1001/archneur.58.7.1151

In 1861, Prosper Ménière presented a paper before the French Academy of Medicine in which he described a series of patients with episodic vertigo and hearing loss. He also mentioned the postmortem examination of a young girl who experienced vertigo after a hemorrhage into the inner ear. Prior to that time, vertigo was thought to be a cerebral symptom similar to epileptic seizures. Ménière pointed out that vertigo frequently had a benign course and that common treatments, such as bleeding, often did more harm than good. He was not attempting to define a disease or syndrome but rather to italicasize that vertigo could originate from damage to the inner ear. Confusion regarding the clinical and pathologic features of Ménière disease persisted well into the 20th century.

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