Olga Imerslund

Olga Imerslund (1907 – 1987) was a Norwegian paediatrician.

Imerslund is best known for her contribution in the identification of the Imerslund-Gräsbeck syndrome (1945-1956)

  • Born 9 April 1907 in Vang, Norway
  • 1936 – University of Oslo
  • 1941-1942 Assistant physician at Göteborg Barnsjukhus
  • 1943-1945 Edinburgh
  • 1947 Ullevål sykehus, Oslo
  • 1948-1955 Rikshospitalet, Oslo with a year in Haukeland sykehus, Bergen
  • 1956-1957 Scholarship in USA
  • 1959-1961 Head physician at the Scandinavian teaching Hospital in Korea
  • Died 23 August 1987

Medical Eponyms
Imerslund-Gräsbeck syndrome

Rare autosomal recessive syndrome caused by selective malabsorption of vitamin B12 (cobalamin) with megaloblastic anaemia (juvenile pernicious anaemia). Usually responsive to parenteral vitamin B12 therapy, the condition appears in childhood. Additional features include failure to thrive and grow; multiple infections and
neurological damage. Mild proteinuria with no signs of kidney disease is present in around half of the patients.

In the University Pediatric Department, Rikshospitalet, Oslo, during the years 1945-56, I had the opportunity to study a group of chronic megaloblastic anemias which seem to represent a disease sui generis not separated as such before. The purpose of the present work has been to describe these cases; investigate the nature of the proteinuria found in 8 of the patients; to exclude other causes of megaloblastic anemia; and investigate the genetic aspects of the disease.

Imerslund 1959

Two cases of juvenile megaloblastic anemia due to vitamin B12 deficiency are described. Both patients had benign proteinuria and were resistant to intrinsic factor. Vitamin B,, was not absorbed from the intestine. It is suggested that the association of juvenile vitamin B12 malabsorption and proteinuria represents a congenital syndrome….Since the submission of this paper, Dr. Imerslund’s publication (Acta Paediatr. Suppl. 119, 1960) has reached us. Her study establishes the familial incidence of this syndrome.

Gräsbeck 1960

[aka Juvenile megaloblastic anaemia; Megaloblastic anaemia 1 (MGA 1); Imerslund anaemia; Selective vitamin B12 (cobalamin) malabsorption with proteinuria]

Major Publications




eponymictionary CTA


the person behind the name

Graduated from Cardiff Medical School in 2017 with MBBCh and BSc in Psychology and Medicine. Currently working as a doctor in the emergency department at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in Perth, Australia.

Emergency physician MA (Oxon) MBChB (Edin) FACEM FFSEM with a passion for rugby; medical history; medical education; and informatics. Asynchronous learning #FOAMed evangelist. Co-founder and CTO of Life in the Fast lane | Eponyms | Books | vocortex |

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.