Josef Gerstmann


Josef Gerstmann (1887–1969) was an



  • Born on 1887
  • Died on 1969

Austrian neuropsychiatrist who studied at Vienna and then became first assistant to von Jauregg in the Viennese Psychiatric Clinic. During the World War I, he served in the medical corps

in the Italian Alps, attending to a number of soldiers and

others who had suffered brain damage incurred in avalanches.

He later became professor and head of the neuropsychiatric

unit in Vienna in 1928 but emigrated to

America 10 years later to escape Nazi persecution. There

he held senior posts in clinical and research psychiatry

in Maryland, Washington, and New York.

His earlier work was on the cerebral pathology accompanying

paralyses, and he published a book on the

malarial treatment of general paresis of the insane. He

described finger agnosia in 1924, and the full syndrome,

now named for him, 6 years later. The French ophthalmologist

Antoine-Jules Badal (1840–1929)

Medical Eponyms
Gerstmann syndrome

autotopagnosia; finger agnosia

Gerstmann syndrome 2

A paranoid psychosis with auditory hallucinations in patients with general paresis of the insane, as a result of malarial therapy, described by Gerstmann in 1924.

Major Publications
  • Gerstmann J. Fingeragnosie: Eine umschriebene Störung der Orientierung am eigenen Körper. Wiener klinische Wochenschrift 1924; 37: 1010–1012 [Gerstmann syndrome 2]
  • Gerstmann J. Über ein noch nicht beschriebenes Reflexphänomen bei einer Erkrankung des zerebellaren Systems. Wiener medicinische Wochenschrift 1928; 78: 906–908
  • Gerstmann J. Zur Symptomatologie der Hirnlasionen im Ubergangsgebiet der unteren Parietal-und mittleren Occipitalwindung. (Das Syndrom: Fingeragnosie, Rechts-Links-Storung, Agraphie, Akalkulie). Nerveniarzt 1930; 3: 691-5.



Eponymous terms

Gerstmann-Sträussler-Scheinker disease

Gerstmann syndrome


the person behind the name

Trained at Kings College London and graduated with a MBBS degree.

BA MA (Oxon) MBChB (Edin) FACEM FFSEM. Emergency physician, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital.  Passion for rugby; medical history; medical education; and asynchronous learning #FOAMed evangelist. Co-founder and CTO of Life in the Fast lane | Eponyms | Books | Twitter |

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