Barré-Lieou syndrome and the problem of the obsolete eponym

C A Foster, P Jabbour
Journal of Laryngology and Otology 2007, 121 (7): 680-3

BACKGROUND: Eponym lists in major sources can give an aura of legitimacy to discredited diagnoses, as exemplified by the case of Barré-Lieou syndrome, a 'rare' vestibular disorder.

METHODS: A literature review for information on the posterior cervical syndrome of Barré-Lieou.

RESULTS: Barré-Lieou syndrome includes very common symptoms--tinnitus, dizziness, and head or neck pain--attributed to ischaemia caused by cervical sympathetic nerve compression. Its original description brings together many unrelated disorders, and its causative mechanism has been discredited. However, it appears credulously in a number of eponym lists, and references to the syndrome are steadily increasing on the internet in general and on alternative medicine and legal profession websites in particular.

CONCLUSION: By inclusion in eponym lists, without a disclaimer, a syndrome can be given legitimacy before the general public. A syndrome, such as Barré-Lieou syndrome, that is useless to the medical profession can unfortunately prove to be very useful for litigants and disability claimants.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"