- A dictionary of medical eponyms

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A child that is affected with congenital syphilitis, born from a mother showing no signs of the disease, will not infect its mother.

We have this description in French (Dictionnaire des termes techniques de médecine):
Loi qui régit la syphilis par conception. Une mère peut donner naissance à un enfant syphilitique du fait du père, sans présenter elle-même d'accidents spécifiques. Elle est néanmoins à l'abri de la contagion et peut nourrir son enfant, même si ce dernier présente des accidents buccaux. Actuellement on admet que la mère elle-même est infectée.

This law from the time before the discovery of Spirochaeta pallida is based upon clinical observations. His conclusion was wrong, however, as Colles was ignorant of the fact that the mother already had the disease.


A. Colles:
Practical observations on the venereal disease, and on the use of mercury.
London, Sherwood, Gilbert & Piper, 1837. Page 304.

Prosper Baumès:
Précis théorique et pratique sur les maladies véneriennes.
2 volumes. Paris, J.-B. Baillièrre, and Lyon, 1840.

Dictionnaire des termes techniques de médecine. Libraire Maloine S.A. Paris, 1970.

What is an eponym?

An eponym is a word derived from the name of a person, whether real or fictional. A medical eponym is thus any word related to medicine, whose name is derived from a person.

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Whonamedit.com is a biographical dictionary of medical eponyms. It is our ambition to present a complete survey of all medical phenomena named for a person, with a biography of that person.


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This survey of medical eponyms and the persons behind them is meant as a general interest site only. No information found here must under any circumstances be used for medical purposes, diagnostically, therapeutically or otherwise. If you, or anybody close to you, is affected, or believe to be affected, by any condition mentioned here: see a doctor.