Talk:List of eponymously named diseases

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I've started this page as a beginnings of a repository of medical eponyms. An important resource is, an encyclopedic site dedicated completely to this aim. I try to link through most eponyms to that site, instead of copying all the stuff from there. Please add any medical eponym you can think of! There must be thousands of them! Jfdwolff 14:56, 29 Mar 2004 (UTC)

  • Just added a bunchful. From my old list at :-) Alex.tan 15:38, 14 Jun 2004 (UTC)

I'd just like to point out that none of the diseases on this list are eponymous, by definition: it's the people they're named after who are the eponyms. Perhaps this should be "List of diseases named after people". Or "List of epynomic diseases", which is apparently the correct adjective. --Paul A 02:32, 4 May 2004 (UTC)

  • For better or for worse, this distinction has faded from the language. Both the disease and the person are eponymous: "of or relating to an eponym". Merriam-Webster's 11th Collegiate further defines eponym both as the one for whom something is named, and "a name (as of a drug or disease) based on an eponym". No one will ever find a "List of epynomic diseases", and if they do, they will look in vain for "epynomic" in most dictionaries. - Nunh-huh 02:48, 4 May 2004 (UTC)

I am going to embark on a comprehensive listing of eponymous diseases and syndromes and eponymous medical signs. As part of this I'll remove any signs from this page and move them to list of eponymous medical signs. Also, as the listing by medical specialty is not comprehensive I'll remove it and concentrate on an alphabetical list. Dave 10:16, 25 Feb 2005 (UTC)


I've removed the following text

There is controversy over the naming conventions for eponymous diseases. Many sources now agree that an apostrophe should be used if the disease is named after the patient, and no apostrophe if the disease is named after the physician (for example, Down syndrome). However, older conventions are still commonly in use, and usage in practice is effectively random.

since I believe this is a medical urban myth. It fails on two points:

1. There are very very few eponymous diseases named after the patient. This article mentions Christmas disease. Another that comes to mind is Lou Gehrig's disease, though this is only so-named in the US. The article What's in a Name: The Eponymic Route to Imortality lists Hartnup disease and Mortimer's disease.

2. I can't find any evidence that anyone follows this distinction for that reason.

To my mind, it smacks of a rationale being invented to explain a convention. There isn't even any logic behind it (mind you, logic and grammar were never best friends). Since the above text was added anonymously, I have been unable to correspond with the author to establish the source of the information.

There is a better explanation for the shift in style away from an apostrophe: The article What's in a Name by Len Leshin, MD, FAAP (2003) mentions a report in the Lancet (1974, i:798.) regarding a conference by the US National Institute of Health in 1974. The attendees agreed to drop the apostrophe, stating: "The possessive form of an eponym should be discontinued, since the author neither had nor owned the disorder." I would be grateful if someone with access to this report could confirm the quotation.

It appears that medical dictionaries and style guides remain divided on the issue. See Lexical Leavings 106.

--Colin 23:56, 15 October 2005 (UTC)

The reasoning behind "since the author neither had nor owned the disorder" is a classic case of people incorrectly believing they are experts in linguistic issues just because they speak the language. Since this kind of naive nonsense was publicly declared in a resolution by educated people who should know they are only experts in medicine but not the relevant field, this is of course especially embarrassing. Any professor of English or any linguist could have explained to the US National Institute of Health that "possessive case" is a misnomer for the genitive case because this fulfills many more functions in English than indicating possession ("having" or "owning"). A two weeks' notice is not owned by the weeks and the same is true of a midsummer night's dream. This is called the classifying or objective genitive (see Genitive), and it is just as much nonsense to turn these constructions around into *"dream of a midsummer night" as *"disease of Parkinson". The only (half) excuse for the missing genitive with "syndrome" is because one can't hear it before the word "syndrome", which also explains but does not provide justification for "parallel mentions on reputable sites of "Asperger syndrome" and "Asperger's disorder" noted on Talk:Asperger_syndrome.
In 1975 the United States National Institutes of Health conference on nomenclature of malformations recommended eliminating the possessive form, precisely because "the author neither had nor owned the disorder". This was a rather startlig decision for a professional body to come out with, since there are almost no disorders named after the patient, and it would require the renaming of virtually all disorders.JohnC (talk) 21:25, 7 August 2009 (UTC)
In the name of seeming political correctness, basic rules of the language are being violated. "Parkinson's disease" is clearly correct and older usage (in the US too) than "Parkinson disease", which is arguably still ungrammatical today despite being increasingly common (like the still erroneous but increasingly common "master degree"). The fact that usage on a large share of Internet pages and even of US edu pages (and on even larger share of UK pages) resists this idiotic resolution proves that this change will probably not become accepted in general use even if all the medical experts should agree, and they haven't, at least yet, as the above Lexical Leavings link and the following links show:
- "I do medical transcription and medical editing and work in an environment adamant about using currently correct terminology practices. The current practice is no apostrophe for eponyms." and "Most of the medical reference stuff in the cyberworld still has the apostrophe though." by an expert on presumably US usage here
- Asperger's syndrome, Down's syndrome, Parkinson's disease
- the WHO's standard calls for Down's syndrome
- but
On the other hand, this may be part of a general trend in the English language that is just moving faster in the US but not something foreign to UK usage, and the medical experts at the NIH conference perhaps correctly noticed this linguistic trend but gave naive and incorrect reasons for following this trend. We need a real (linguistic) expert's opinion, and the following also quoted from here will have to serve that function until an English professor or linguist is asked to look at this talk page:
"Even as recently as early 20th century, it was considered "improper" or ungrammatical to use a noun to modify another noun as in "bird wing" although phrases like "wing feather" were by then becoming very common. In Middle English (before mid 1500's) one would have been obliged to say "birdes wing.""
Until we get a linguistic expert's opinion, all Wikipedia article's should be rewritten in accordance with something like the beginning of Down_syndrome, but even that is incorrect in its absoluteness: as the National Information Standards Organization, a non-profit association accredited by the American National Standards Institute clearly states, this is not a clear-cut situation in the US either although this is incorrectly claimed on Down_syndrome and its talk page:
"For medical eponyms, the use of the possessive form (‘s) is becoming progressively less common, e.g. Down syndrome instead of Down's syndrome.."
--Espoo 20:08, 1 May 2006 (UTC)
There is nothing wrong with deciding on a preferred form to be used throughout Wikipedia, and the current chaos of articles being called "Parkinson's disease" and "Down syndrome" throughout the encyclopedia and even next to each other in this list of eponymous diseases should be abolished, but this should not take the form of erroneously claiming that one or the other is incorrect because the situation is clearly in the middle of a change. This is especially true because "Parkinson's disease" is clearly older and in that sense "better" English that has nothing to do with "owning or having". I suggest that the names of all eponymous disease articles in Wikipedia be changed to either the natural, normal English form "Parkinson's disease" or the new, pseudo-PC "Parkinson disease" but that the other form be listed at the beginning of each article as also possible and without any stigmatisation. --Espoo 18:28, 2 May 2006 (UTC)

NIH naming[edit]

"In 1974, the US National Institutes of Health held a conference where the naming of diseases and conditions was discussed. This was reported in The Lancet (1974;i:798) where the conclusion was that "The possessive form of an eponym should be discontinued, since the author neither had nor owned the disorder." Medical journals, dictionaries and style guides remain divided on this issue."

This statement is incorrect. The reference given is a short notice of the intent to have a "workshop [that] will convene later." The notice does mention eponyms as part of a proposed nomenclature, but not as is often quoted ("The possessive use of an eponym should be discontinued (e.g., Down—not Down's—syndrome).").

I have not been able to find the results of the workshop, if such exists. TedTalk/Contributions 17:23, 30 June 2006 (UTC)

The correct citation and quote are now on the page. TedTalk/Contributions 20:20, 11 July 2006 (UTC)

Misplaced content[edit]

If this is a list class article, the descriptive content is out of place. Perhaps moving it to Medical eponym would work better. Certainly that article needs work.LeadSongDog (talk) 12:18, 10 March 2009 (UTC)

Moving Article[edit]

I'm moving this article to

List of Eponymously Named Diseases

The diseases are not eponymous but rather the person who they're named after is eponymous.

ironcorona (talk) 20:02, 13 April 2012 (UTC)

En dash[edit]

Per WP:ENDASH I've fixed a bunch of the two- and three-name links to use en dash. In most cases the article titles were already right, so this just avoid mis-punctuation redirects.

We also used spaced en dash, not spaced hyphen, to separate parts of a list item (disease name from people name in this list); fixed a few of those two. And some case and spelling errors while I was at it.

I was careful not to make any new redlinks, and to fix a few that were due to errors. Dicklyon (talk) 20:56, 11 November 2012 (UTC)

Cannon disease[edit]

I've changed "Cannon syndrome" to "Cannon disease" as there seems to be no accessible info for CS. I have linked "Cannon disease" to 'White sponge nevus'. I have serious doubts that the Walter Cannon linked to the disease was the originator of the disease name. Richard Avery (talk) 14:38, 12 March 2013 (UTC)

Bernheim's Syndrome[edit]

I have removed Hippolyte Bernheim's name as he was not the person to describe Bernheim's syndrome. It was first described in 1910 by P. I. Bernheim, a French physiologist. Bottom of first column, Second line,and here, Now all we need is more info on P. I Bernheim. Richard Avery (talk) 15:15, 12 March 2013 (UTC)

E. coli[edit]

i would argue, on several grounds, for the removal of this entry. first, it isn't actually the name of a disease. it's simply a species name. second, it refers to aspecies of microorganism that, the vast majority of the time. isn't a pathogen. and, perhaps most importantly, the use of eponymous naming in linnaean taxonomy is so common as to provide the opportunity to expand this list beyond recognition. i.e., who knows how many pathogens there are with eponymous names? naegleria fowleri comes immediately to mind, with the genus named after someone named naegler, and the species after fowler.Toyokuni3 (talk) 16:16, 23 April 2013 (UTC)

then there's salmonella enterica, listeria monocytogenes, etc., etc. see? (i would however, have no problem with the inclusion of listeriosis. that's a disease.Toyokuni3 (talk) 16:27, 23 April 2013 (UTC)

Are toponymic names eponymous?[edit]

"Disorders named after a specific person or place are called eponyms." - This statement appears at While linguists might make a distinction between eponymous versus toponymic, NIH and NLM apparently do not. Thoughts? Irish Melkite (talk) 08:48, 5 May 2013 (UTC)

Kanner syndrome[edit]

"(this name is rarely used now)" - I deleted this parenthetical which followed Leo Kanner's name. The same could be said of any number of the eponyms listed and I can't see any particular reason why the first widely applied name for Early Infantile Autism should be singled out on that account. Irish Melkite (talk) 09:03, 5 May 2013 (UTC)

Link problem[edit]

Anyone with sharper eyes than me who can figure out why Abdallat-Davis-Farrage syndrome won't link to the Wiki article by that title? Irish Melkite (talk) 11:11, 5 May 2013 (UTC)

Yes, it was the "wrong" hyphens. I put in Wiki mark up 'n'dashes and it worked. Ah, the devil in the detail! Richard Avery (talk) 15:00, 5 May 2013 (UTC)
Thanks - hadn't thought of that possibility Irish Melkite (talk) 02:42, 6 May 2013 (UTC)

Do we want?[edit]

When I started doing some additions to this page a couple of days ago, I noticed that some entries, in addition to the names of the physicians and others for whom diseases are named, also described nationality and occupation (mainly medical specialty). I followed suit and then began to add those to entries which lacked them, for consistency of presentation. Now, I'm wondering - interesting yes, but essential, no. Is there a consensus as to whether they are worth adding? I'm inclined toward 'yes', but don't want to invest a lot of time and effort only to have someone decide, 2 weeks from now, that it's superfluous info and delete them all. So, thoughts? Irish Melkite (talk) 11:24, 5 May 2013 (UTC)

Yes, I had some similar thoughts Melkite and my feeling is that it is perfectly easy to click onto the article (where it is linked) to see the name of the person. I must admit I am not murderously keen on one or the other, but would prefer to keep it simple if we can. On another theme I must say you are building up a huge list, well done. I will try to link or write the redslinks when I have time. Richard Avery (talk) 14:51, 5 May 2013 (UTC)
Richard - thanks for the feedback and for catching PTEN (was on a roll, got caught up entering a list of related syndromes, and didn't stop to realize that I'd hit the end of the eponymous ones) and question mark ear (my only excuse here is that I've always found it such a great descriptor that, when I realized that Q wasn't represented, I jumped at the chance to fill the gap - w/o ever a thought as to the criterion for inclusion). The replication of Munchausen was intended to be the proxy, but the hour was late and I c&p'ed but didn't modify - I'll revert and update the text to correct it. Irish Melkite (talk) 03:01, 6 May 2013 (UTC)
Got thru A. I'm planning to work down the list, adding those that I pick up incidentally along the way, but won't do any more heavy duty additions until I clear out the nationalities/occupations, and add in the aka's that fall on top of each other alphabetically. (I don't see a point to x-referencing across the list as a whole. It would be a nightmare and alternate names can easily be accessed by linking to the article; but, when an alternative name is next alphabetically, it makes sense to not replicate the entry on the next line) Irish Melkite (talk) 08:24, 6 May 2013 (UTC)
Irish, I think the bare redlinks of diseases without even the associated name(s) are not a good idea. You can collect those on the talk page instead, to be added to the article when there's some info, no? Dicklyon (talk) 02:56, 7 May 2013 (UTC)
Dicklyon - I agree. I've tried to add at least one of the names (where there are multiples and all aren't readily findable) to each - any I don't get to tonight, I'll pull and collect here. Update - think every redlinked disease has at least one associated name now. Probably be a 2 day hiatus before I get back to this - have o deal w/ a family medical crisis that will keep me off-line until Friday night. Irish Melkite (talk) 10:06, 8 May 2013 (UTC)
Reminder to self - sort out the 2? different Rileys associated w/ Bannayan and sort out the Zonana/Riley conflict in one instance, involving the same cluster of related syndromes with multiple name variations but w/o consensus that they are precisely identical to one another. Irish Melkite (talk) 09:45, 8 May 2013 (UTC)
I've eliminated all of the nationality/specialty text, got rid of a few non-eponymous terms, and put all the named persons who were w/o links or redlinks into brackets. Also added an explanation of why cross-referencing is limited and explaining that which exists, Will work on some additions over the next week - as well as adding alternative names to existing articles.Irish Melkite (talk) 10:03, 11 May 2013 (UTC)
i can find no reference to a second riley. what is the likelihood that 2 guys with the same name would be working, not only in the same specialty, but on the same constellation of symptoms and disorders. in any event, there is no jonathan zonana riley, whicvh is what it said.Toyokuni3 (talk) 16:28, 15 May 2013 (UTC)

Middleton syndrome[edit]

i have reverted the addition of this entity, as neither the disorder nor dr. middleton have wikipedia articles and a quick review of the usual sources does not find it. there is a stephen john middleton at cambridge. he is a gastroenterologist, but even his own online profile makes no mention of an eponymous syndrome.Toyokuni3 (talk) 15:50, 13 May 2013 (UTC)

The lack of a Wiki article isn't the criterion for listing. Middleton syndrome is primary accelerated gastric emptying - source: That description would make it likely that the eponymous syndrome is named for the said Dr Middleton, a gastroenterologist, although I can't yet say with certainty that it's named for him. I'm re-adding the entry. Irish Melkite (talk) 08:24, 14 September 2013 (UTC)