[Skip to Navigation]
May 1959

Serum Phosphatase in Lipidoses

Author Affiliations

Department of Chemistry, Mount Sinai Hospital, New York.

AMA Am J Dis Child. 1959;97(5_PART_II):715-718. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1959.02070010717010

Long before the scientific age in which we live, mankind has striven to evade or to neutralize the mysterious dangers, lurking on all sides, by giving them names through which they may be recognized and identified. This propensity has been rationalized in modern times and one has consciously and proudly pointed to the contributions made by systematic terminology and, more generally speaking, by semantics to science. We have gone from the superstitious adage "nomen est omen" to the Hippocratic maxim "et causae quoque estimatio saepe morbum solvit," and have then often christened a disease after the rationale of its origin.

In the instance of amaurotic family idiocy, the subject of the present symposium, the name is vaguely descriptive, and, if we recognize it as one of the lipidoses or lipid storage diseases, we have gone one step further. Moreover, it is an "inborn error of metabolism," a description which presumes