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J Pediatr Orthop B. 2012 Nov;21(6):606-10. doi: 10.1097/BPB.0b013e328356f9a5.

Nonoriginal Malappropriate Eponymous Nomenclature: examples relevant to paediatric orthopaedics.

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Barts and The London NHS Trust, The Royal London Hospital, London, UK.


Eponyms are widely used in medicine and their use has been the subject of much debate recently. Advocates stress their historical significance, their ability to simplify complex terminology and their addition of character to science. Opponents cite the controversy among those eponyms and highlight the lack of both scientific and historical accuracy. The law of Nonoriginal Malappropriate Eponymous Nomenclature (NOMEN) suggests that no phenomenon is named after the individual(s) who originally described it. We aimed to determine whether this law is applicable to various clinical conditions and signs relevant to paediatric orthopaedics. We selected a series of 10 eponyms and performed a thorough literature review. In all cases, a description was identified preceding that from whom the disease received its eponymous name. We were also able to identify what we believe to be the earliest recorded description of each disease and sign. Our examples confirm the law of NOMEN in the field of paediatric orthopaedics. We suggest that irregularities in the descriptions and meanings of eponyms are identified and updated.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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