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March 15, 1976

Greenbaum Disease: A Nonlinguistic Entity

Author Affiliations

Michigan State University East Lansing

JAMA. 1976;235(11):1108. doi:10.1001/jama.1976.03260370018018

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To the Editor.—  Dr Makris recently called attention to the confusing and linguistically offensive use of the term "nonparenteral" in titles of medical articles (234:1223, 1975). While his concern over the linguistic malady of spastic polysyllabilism is appropriate, Dr Makris was not the first to point out this problem. Dr Greenbaum of this university published a similar objection to "nonparenteral" in the New England Journal of Medicine (291:51, 1974).I suggest that priority of authorship be honored and that the use of the term "nonparenteral" in inappropriate contexts (that is, in any context) should henceforth be referred to as "Greenbaum disease," at least until an earlier letter to the editor turns up.Both authors call attention to the lack of a succinct term for "not administered via a needle"; Makris suggests "non-mechanically invasive" while Greenbaum originally opted, tongue in linguistic cheek, for "asyringial." This matter deserves further study.