Reflections on eponyms in neuroscience terminology

Authors

  • Jorge Eduardo Duque-Parra,

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    • Program of Medicine, Department of Basic Sciences, University of Caldas, Manizales, Colombia
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    • Dr. J.E. Duque-Parra is a professor of neuroanatomy in the Program of Medicine, Department of Basic Sciences, University of Caldas, Manizales, Colombia; a professor of physiology in the Programs of Dentistry and Physical Therapy, Department of Biological Basic Sciences, Autonoma University of Manizales, Colombia; and a professor in Neuroscience of Caldas, Colciencias. His research efforts include history and terminology in health sciences.

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  • J. Oskar Llano-Idárraga,

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    • Dr. Llano-Idárraga is director of the Language Institute at Autonoma University of Manizales. He is a professor of English, French, Italian, German, and Portuguese and his specialty is teaching foreign languages with specific purposes. His research interests include methodology in teaching foreign languages, terminology, achievement of faithful translations, and foreign-language autonomous learning.

  • Carlos Alberto Duque-Parra

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    • Dr. C.A. Duque-Parra is professor of morphophysiology in Programs of Dentistry and Physical Therapy, Department of Biological Basic Sciences, Autonoma University of Manizales.


Abstract

Eponyms have played a very significant linguistic role in technical and scientific terminology. They are an important feature of language that have contributed for a long time to engraving in history the names of those researchers who have devoted their lives to scientific discovery. In the field of medical terminology, they are an asset, although their semantic effectiveness has constituted a long-standing debate. We will analyze how language contributes to the advance of science and technology and the current position of eponyms in the health sciences. Eponymy in neuroscience has been used for a long time as a way to identify and recognize scientific issues, such as diseases, syndromes, methods, processes, substances, organs, and parts of organs as a way to honor those who, in a certain way, contributed to the progress of science. However, sometimes those honors do not correspond to the real contributors, thus receiving a nondeserved acknowledgment. Another problem with eponymic references is the lack of information about the matter in hand, because eponyms do not provide any clear information leading to the identification of the situation under study, as they are not reasonably descriptive. The aim of this article is to encourage the use of descriptive terms instead of eponyms and to establish a system of scientific nomenclature to consolidate the use of the language as a means of conveying scientific information among experts. Anat Rec (Part B: New Anat) 289B:219–224, 2006. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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