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October 26, 1970

Keeping Eponyms in the Family

Author Affiliations

Winnitopeg, Canada

JAMA. 1970;214(4):762. doi:10.1001/jama.1970.03180040064024

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To the Editor.—  Your recent editorial on halflife of eponyms has set our chordae tendineae atremble. We eponym buffs feel that the extinction of eponymic names would constitute a serious break with medical history as well as a grave injustice to the great physicians whom they immortalize. Should eponyms vanish because the original disease entity which they designated has proved to be a conglomerate of disease?Our answer is no. Instead of discarding an eponym, let us keep it in the family. Surely, every discoverer who graciously bestowed his name on a disease possesses family—a wife, a child, or a mother-in-law who can readily share the eponymic honors by donating first names to new disease offshoots of the family name. Rather than do away with Borgiani poisoning syndrome because it represents two diseases we could call them "Cesare Borgiani" and "Lucrezia Borgiani" syndromes. Similarly, the "Sweeter Syndrome" could be split