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Survey: Should Medicine Abandon Eponyms for More Scientific Descriptions?


Take this MedPage Today survey on the practice of naming diseases after the doctors who discovered them.

What's in a name? That which we call Rosenbach's syndrome by any other name would still be a form of paroxysmal tachycardia.

Eponyms -- words coined from the name of a person credited with a discovery, insight or action -- are the focus of a point-counterpoint debate published in the Sept. 1 issue of BMJ. (See: Willebrand's Disease or an Inherited Clotting Factor?)

Two physicians argued against the practice saying eponyms lack accuracy, lead to confusion, and hamper scientific discussion. They believe eponyms should be done away with.

The physician arguing in favor of the practice says eponyms are widely recognized and that abandoning them would be a monumental chore and not worth the effort.

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