Dr. Masaya Segawa comes from a long line of pediatricians, starting with a grandfather nine times removed, who served as in-house doctor for a feudal lord of Takatsuki domain in Settsu Province near modern-day Osaka. The Segawa Children’s Hospital was founded by his great-grandfather, Dr. Masatoshi Segawa, and subsequently led by his grandfather, Dr. Masayo Segawa, and his father, Dr. Isao Segawa. After his promotion to hospital director in 1973, Dr. Masaya Segawa converted the Children’s Hospital to the Segawa
Neurological Clinic for Children. At the time, this was the world’s only private clinic specializing in pediatric neurology.
The clinic grew out of Dr. Segawa’s personal interest in child neurology and the great need for child neurologists in Japan. Most of the outpatients at the Segawa Children’s Hospital suffered from neurological disease, but treatment was difficult because there were no child neurologists in the community, and the only Japanese teaching hospital with a pediatric neurology department was at Tottori University in a relatively remote area of western Japan. Dr. Segawa’s focus and commitment to his young patients gradually built the clinic into a recognized center for teaching pediatric neurology, and Dr. Segawa himself became an enthusiastic educator of
students and junior faculty members.
In 1970, a girl presented at the clinic with diurnal dystonia of the lower extremities. This was the first diagnosed case of Segawa disease. In 1971 Dr. Segawa described the condition in a paper titled “Hereditary progressive dystonia with marked diurnal fluctuation.” Awareness of Segawa disease contributed considerably to the understanding of pediatric neurological pathology in Japan, stimulated studies of sleep disorders and disorders of monoamine neurotransmitters by the Japanese Society of Neurology and the Japanese Society of Child Neurology, and established Dr. Segawa’s reputation within the international community of pediatric neurology.
The Segawa Neurological Clinic for Children was opened on November 1, 1973, and continued to be directed by Dr. Segawa for 41 years until his death on December 14, 2014. In 2016, his students incorporated the clinic, which now operates under the name “Segawa Memorial Neurological Clinic for Children.” The clinic continues to operate under the three pillars of clinical care, research, and education, and has grown into a core Japanese medical institution that draws patients from all over the country.
An out-facing organization, the Segawa Research Institute for Pediatric Neurology, was established in 2019 to publicize Dr.
Segawa’s work and share it with future generations of child neurologists. We hope that this institute will light the way for future researchers and students of pediatric neurology, and will bring hope and healing to all patients who suffer from intractable neurological disorders.
Sachiko Segawa, Director, Segawa Research Institute for Pediatric Neurology
Kyoko Hoshino, MD., Segawa Research Institute for Pediatric Neurology