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July 1993

Out, Out Damn Spot, or the Demise of the Mongolian Spot

Author Affiliations

National Birth Defects Center 30 Warren St Brighton, MA 02135
Department of Pediatrics Boston City Hospital 818 Harrison Ave Boston, MA 02118

Am J Dis Child. 1993;147(7):714. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1993.02160310016004

Sir.—Although "mongolism" and "mongoloid" slant of the eyes have been replaced by the more accurate terms Down syndrome and upslantingpalpebral fissures, the term mongolianspot persists in common pediatric usage.1-7 This benign, blue-gray macule occurs frequently in infants of Asian, Mediterranean, and African heritage.

Anthropologic theories have attempted to explain the origin of this spot, suggesting that it was derived from the racial admixture resulting from the Mongolian invasion of Europe.8 It had been noted that the spot was more common in "Mongolian" nonwhite races, hence the appellation. However, not all Asian people are derived from Mongolian tribes and, conversely, not all Mongolians are Asian. Pediatric textbooks have commented that the term mongolian spot is "... an unfortunate name for such a common benign skin discoloration,"5 and this lesion has "... no known anthropological significance."7

We suggest that mongolian spot be replaced with blue-gray macule of

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