Nomenclature.—Various names have been given to this condition. Those which include the word spasm, such as spasmus nutans, nutatio capitis spastica, gyrospasm, nodding spasm, are objectionable, because it is not a spasm in the sense in which that term is usually used. The terms gyrospasm, rotatory spasm, head nodding and nodding spasm are inaccurate, because the movements may be in any direction. The term spasmus nutans has sometimes led to confusion with the condition known as eclampsia or epilepsia nutans, which is an entirely different disease. Salaam tic, a term sometimes used by French authors, is objectionable because this condition has none of the characteristic features of a tic. Everything considered, head shaking with nystagmus, seems to be the least objectionable name.
Historical.—This condition was first described by Ebert1 in 1850, and in 1851 by Romberg and Henoch.2 In 1890 Hadden3 published two important papers,
CHARLES HERRMAN. HEAD SHAKING WITH NYSTAGMUS IN INFANTSA STUDY OF SIXTY-FOUR CASES. Am J Dis Child. 1918;16(3):180–194. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1918.01910150049006