Neurological signs described at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro: connecting the past to the future

ABSTRACT The Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) is one of the pillars of Brazilian Medicine and, in Neurology, has always shown prominence, with notable professors such as Antônio Austregésilo and Deolindo Couto. Historically, practitioners of the UFRJ Medical School have discovered neurological signs that, although used in medical and academic practice, have never been published. Objective Our aim was to bring these signs to the forefront so that they become properly recognized and studied. Methods We conducted our search by questioning 49 professors and physicians by e-mail about neurological signs that they remembered having had contact with at UFRJ. Results We report on the unpublished pillow sign in progressive supranuclear palsy; the Brazilian sandal sign in functional or malingering patients; the dermographism sign in acute meningitis; the reverse forearm rolling sign in functional palsies; the cycling maneuver in parkinsonian syndromes and the Sá Cavalcanti sign, a Babinski equivalent. We have also recollected the following published signs for their historical relevance: the Austregésilo sign (Antônio Austregésilo), another Babinski equivalent; the digiti quinti rolling sign in subtle palsies (Péricles Maranhão) and the digiti quinti sign in hemiplegic migraine (Maurice Vincent). These signs are easily reproduced and have potential clinical applicability, deserving to be more thoroughly studied. Conclusions Through a qualitative methodology, we have identified six original unpublished neurological signs known by the academic community, establishing the contribution of these individuals to the expansion of neurological semiology.