Confusing Eponyms

Alfred Hugh Benson, a surgeon at St. Mark’s Ophthalmic Hospital in Dublin, Ireland, reported “A Case of Monocular Asteroid Hyalitis.” ( Trans Ophth Soc UK 1894;14:101–104). James Moores Ball of St. Louis, Missouri described a similar case in 1924 and called it Benson disease, which is still a recognized but rarely used eponym. This condition is now called asteroid hyalosis. Ophthalmology also has Benson syndrome, which was described by D. Frank Benson, MD, a pioneer in the field of behavioral neurology. ( Arch Neurol 1988;45:789–793). The proper medical name of this syndrome is posterior cortical atrophy, a neurodegenerative disease of the visual cortex. The present trend in medical terminology is to avoid eponyms for several reasons, one of which is illustrated here in that the same eponym may apply to different diseases. In eponyms which are still used, the possessive use is now discouraged, since the author neither had nor owned the disorder. There is no known relationship between the two Benson physicians.

Robert M. Feibel, MD, Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, and Center for History Of Medicine, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO. For the Cogan Ophthalmic History Society .

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Jan 6, 2017 | Posted by in OPHTHALMOLOGY | Comments Off on Confusing Eponyms

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