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To the Editor:
The term neuropsychiatry has recently come into vogue, especially among the military. This term is unfortunate, since this word — though listed in Webster — is a bastard and a misnomer. Similar words in common usage, such as neurosurgery, neurophysiology and neuroanatomy, naturally lead to the assumption that "neuro" in neuropsychiatry stands for "neurologic." But this is not the case. There is no such thing as neurologic psychiatry. Neither can "neuro" stand for nerve or neuron — as in neuromuscular. 'Neuro" is apparently supposed to be an abbreviation of "neurology." If so the term neuropsychiatry is awkward because the endings of the two words are not the same. One rightly abbreviates otology, rhinology and laryngology to otorhinolaryngology, since in this case all endings are the same. If neuropsychiatry is intended to mean an abbreviation of neurology and psychiatry, both of these two words should be used. Each
WARTENBURG R. NEUROPSYCHIATRY. JAMA. 1948;137(4):401. doi:10.1001/jama.1948.02890380071023