How Much Do You Know About CMT?

Top Twelve Reasons I’m Talking About CMT during Awareness Month


– When I tell people my son has Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, I get looks like this:

Let’s stop the nonsense. I’m looking for reactions of recognition, like Dr. House’s below:

9) Dentures? Besides having had too many cavities, crowns, and pulled teeth, there is absolutely nothing wrong with my dental hygiene. Yohan has beautiful teeth and healthy gums, too.  Dr. Howard Henry Tooth discovered this progressive neuromuscular disease at just about the same time as the French neurologists,  Dr.  Charcot, and his disciple,  Pierre Marie. So we are left with Charcot-Marie-Tooth or CMT.

8. Eponyms. Jean-Marie Charcot is known as the father of modern neurology. And, he made sure no one would ever forget his legacy. Why? He was generous enough to share his last name with a host of other diseases he studied:

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Personally, I think he was a narcissist.

Here is the short list of the master’s eponyms:

7) But, It Could Be SO Much Worse! 

I stop my complaining when I remember that the name  COULD definitely be much worse.  Why? One of my good doctor friends, a most reliable source, explained that Dr. Nikolaus Friedreich, as in the neuromuscular disease Friedrich’s Ataxia,  also wanted credit for the discovery of CMT, but the message of his discovery did not reach the disease-naming committee in time. It had something to do with an unannounced closing of government offices. So the Grand Poo-Bahs did not receive the important Carrion Pigeon or telegraph messages. Bummer for Nikolaus and hurrah for people with CMT everywhere! We don’t have Charcot-Marie-Tooth Freiderich disease (CMTF), but rathe

Thank God for small miracles.

6. Let everyone know that CMT does not stand for:

Country Music Television

Childen’s Musical Theater

Certified Massage Therapist

5. Pronunciation: Give others ways to remember the name, pronounce like:




5. Shark’s Teeth Convention? Once, I wanted to book a large room for a CMTA conference. The short discussion went something like this: “Hi. I need to book a meeting room for the Charcot-Marie-Tooth Association.”. “Okay, let me see. What is the date of your Shark Tooth meeting?

Carcharias_taurus_teeth (1)

Enough said. Ugh.

5. Rent a Costume or Let Your Pets Do The Dirty Work!

If you feel awkward about starting the CMT discussion, you and your animals can dress up like a shark – it’s fun and you are bound to get s few questions! Or, just paint your horse with non-toxic paint. People will ask… me.


4. Tell people you wear braces and when they look at your mouth, lift up your pant leg and flash them with your one-of-a-kind ankle-foot orthoses (AFOs).

3. Genius!

Wow your friends with your knowledge of medical jargon. Use CMT-related words like:

peripheral neuropathy, autosomal dominant, hereditary motor and sensory neuropathy, dorsiflexion, plantar flexion, pes cavus, myelin, axons, exome sequencing, orthosis, etc……

They’ll be stunned by your brilliance.

2. The CMTA makes it fun to celebrate and talk about CMT during CMT awareness month.  We have an entire interactive site dedicated to CMT awareness:


Give your friends and family the How Much Do You Know About CMT Quiz!

Be the expert on questions they can’t answer. Teach a friend and make good use of your never-ending CMT knowledge!


  1. Acceptance-Whatever you do, talk about your CMT. Knowledge is power. Let others know about the fatigue, the clumsiness, the high-arched feet, the braces and everything else that comes with CMT. Be factual. Own it and don’t let it own you.  If you accept your CMT, others will too.

4 thoughts on “How Much Do You Know About CMT?

  1. therafun September 2, 2017 / 11:33 PM

    Entertaining as always and I learned a few new things.


  2. Betty mousel September 3, 2017 / 12:24 AM

    Elizabeth, you are a talented teacher with verbal flare! Lighting strikes your brain and you are off with important information. GBS, Guillain Barre Syndrome, has multiple variants also.
    Some days, I think I have all the variants piled on me as I struggle with the pain aspect. For thirty years they have recommended all the drug therapy you so,carefully crafted in your article. For thirty years it has not helped the majority of people.

    You and your family are impressive for the funds you have raised for CMTD. YOUR GIFT OF DEVOTION TO THE CAUSE IS SPLENDID.


    Liked by 1 person

  3. annspivack September 3, 2017 / 7:59 AM

    Elizabeth, thank you for the humor and the information. And for squirrel massage.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Jeff Whitman September 14, 2017 / 10:22 AM

    A wonderful introduction to the wild & wacky world of CAT! Great job!


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