Wednesday, December 23, 2009

B - "Down's syndrome" or "Down syndrome"?

Jana N, Barik S, Arora N. Current use of medical eponyms--a need for global uniformity in scientific publications. BMC Med Res Methodol 2009;9:18. http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2288/9/18


Eponym indicates the name of a person after whom something, such as a discovery, is named. Eponyms are widely used in medicine, i.e. Alzheimer disease, Williams syndrome or Australia antigen. Nonetheless there are no standardized guidelines to assure uniformity. Is it more exact to write Down syndrome, Down’s syndrome or to identify the disease with its descriptive name (trisomy 21)? Can we use indifferently “Susac syndrome” and “retinocochleocerebral vasculopathy”. An uniform use of nomenclature of a clinical disorder not only important for stylistic reasons, but even essential for its correct classification in biomedical databases. Taking “Down syndrome” and “Down's syndrome” as an example, the article assess the current use of medical eponyms, underlines the importance of uniformity and suggests the use of the nonpossessive form versus the possessive one.

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