down’s syndrome
Posted: 16 October 2007 05:17 PM   [ Ignore ]
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origin of this phrase please

I for one am not so very interested in apostrophe or not.  I understand that a Doctor with the name Down was the first to classify the condition that has now his name as its identifier.  But in addition, I have been told that an employee at Ellis Island whose name was Down would label many children arriving with “illness” as having Down disease, thus naming it for himself and that his co-workers aided and abetted this mischief.

Any reality to this story at all?

[ Edited: 17 October 2007 09:28 AM by alanabbott ]
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Posted: 16 October 2007 05:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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See here and here.

(Especially the latter.)

[ Edited: 16 October 2007 05:31 PM by Dr. Techie ]
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Posted: 17 October 2007 03:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Regarding the disuse of possessives in eponymic disease names, I don’t think we can eliminate assimilation, at least in common usage as opposed to professional style, particularly in those diseases referred to as syndromes.

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Posted: 17 October 2007 08:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Via diegogarcity, I happened to be reading several articles the other day which referred to “Cooley anemia” rather than “Cooley’s anemia”.  It doesn’t have nearly the numeric support on Google that Down syndrome has, but it does occasionally appear in places that I would expect to know “better” (papers and articles rather than blogs, etc.).

NB: Because Google “knows” what you want better than you do, you need to enter “Cooley anemia” -"Cooley’s anemia” in the box to get just “Cooley anemia”. If you just search for one or the other by itself, you get both.

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Posted: 17 October 2007 12:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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it does occasionally appear in places that I would expect to know “better” (papers and articles rather than blogs, etc.).

I’m not sure what you mean.  The current standard is not to use the possessive.  From here:

Many medical conditions and diseases have been named after a person; this type of name is called an eponym. There has been a long-standing debate in the scientific community over whether or not to add the possessive form to the names of eponyms. For quite a long time, there was no established rule as to which to use, but general usage decided which form is acceptable. So you saw both possessive and non-possessive names in use.

In 1974, a conference at the US National Institute of Health attempted to make a standard set of rules regarding the naming of diseases and conditions. This report, printed in the journal Lancet, stated: “The possessive form of an eponym should be discontinued, since the author neither had nor owned the disorder.”

From The CBE Manual:

It is recommended that the possessive form be eliminated altogether from eponymic terms so that they can be clearly differentiated from true possessives.

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Posted: 17 October 2007 02:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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By knows “better”, I didn’t mean to imply right or wrong, only that there are seemingly knowledgable science writers of various sorts using both, including the Cooley’s Anemia Foundation. Someone didn’t get the memo.

Using the wholly unscientific restrictive query form as above, Cooley anemia gets 563 Google hits, Cooley’s anemia 19,600. While for Down syndrome: 1,870,000, Down’s syndrome: 106,000. Quite an opposite result.

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Posted: 18 October 2007 06:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Sorry, I thought you meant the form without the possessive was wrong.  My mistake.

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