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April 10, 1926


JAMA. 1926;86(15):1132-1133. doi:10.1001/jama.1926.02670410028014

It was once an almost universal custom to associate a newly recognized disease entity with the name of the investigator, usually a clinician, who first published an accurate description of it. Thus, to give only a few conspicuous illustrations, physicians still speak of Bright's disease, Pott's disease, Basedow's disease, Barlow's disease and Paget's disease. Obviously, a step in advance occurs when any malady can be more accurately designated as a demonstrable lesion of some organ, a definite perversion of some function, or a bacterial invasion of certain tissues. Interstitial nephritis, hyperthyroidism, and tuberculosis of the spine have direct implications of a more scientific character. So long as a disease designation can be based on a definite, clear cut, pathogenic feature, the corresponding name is likely to represent a distinct advantage. Often the nomenclature refers merely to a conspicuous symptom. Eczema and "pink disease" represent instances of the undesirability of the

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