A large number of
people. Most often, their namesakes discovered or described the
disease, while occasionally the disease is named after the first patient
disease) or the place where it was first identified (Bornholm
The proliferation of
is partly due to the fact that until recently the exact cause of many
was a mystery. The best way to refer to a
then, was to refer to the person who first addressed its existence.
There is controversy over the naming conventions for eponymous diseases.
Many sources now agree that an apostrophe should be used if the disease is
named after the patient, and no apostrophe if the disease is named after the
physician (for example,
Down syndrome). However, older conventions are still commonly in use, and
usage in practice is effectively random.