Eponyms in Dermatology Literature Linked to Switzerland


There are many diseases in medicine which are named after scientists. These so-called „eponyms” have become quite commonplace in medical literature and offer important historical insight. These eponyms originated from different countries around the world. In Table I [1-18]. I listed selected eponyms in dermatology literature linked to Switzerland. Switzerland is situated in western Europe. Its current population is estimated to be 8 million people. It is known for many people around the world by its productions of many good and beautiful things. For examples, high quality hand watches. Many scientific contributions in medicine came also from Switzerland. The well-known whonamedit website, (www.whonamedit. com), listed till now more than 100 scientists from Switzerland for whom many medical conditions were named. In addition, many scientists from Switzerland win Nobel Prize in its different branches. As a matter of fact, when it comes to Nobel Prize winners per capita, Switzerland is head and shoulders above the competition. The first winner from Switzerland in Physiology or Medicine is Emil Theodor Kocher (1841-1917), (Fig. 12), for his work in the physiology, pathology and surgery of the thyroid. He was awarded in 1909. Many scientists from Europe were also teaching medicine in Switzerland. For example Jacob Henle (1809-1885), a German scientist for whom, Henle’s Layer of the Internal Root Sheath, was named. Also, Johann Lukas Schönlein (1793-1864) a German scientist, who made important medical discoveries. All were made during his years in Zurich, the socalled typhoid crystals in patients’ stools (1836), „peliosis rheumatica” (1837), and-most important-the causative agent of favus (1839), a fungus later named Achorion schoenleinii [19]. Henoch-Schönlein purpura is named for him and for his former student from Germany Eduard Heinrich Henoch (1820-1910). Trichophyton schönleinii is still acceptable term, named for him. Also, there are scientists from outside Switzerland who had medical training in Switzerland like the famous American dermatologist, Marion Baldur Sulzberger (1895-1983). On the other hand there are scientists from Switzerland who continued their researches and career outside Switzerland. Willy Burgdorfer is an example. Burgdorfer, (Fig. 13), is an American scientist born and educated in Basel, Switzerland. He is an international leader in the field of medical entomology. He is famous for his discovery of the bacterial pathogen that causes Lyme disease, a spirochete named Borrelia burgdorferi in his honor. He isolated the bacterium in 1982 [20]. It is to be mentioned that some of the eponyms linked to Switzerland are no longer in common use in medicine. For example, Rickettsia mooseri is an old name for Rickettsia typhi, the causative agent of murine typhus. It is named for Hans Mooser, a Professor of bacteriology in Zurich. It is, also, a well-known and not uncommon phenomenon, that eponyms often become associated with names of people who are not, in fact, identical with the person who first described or discovered a given state or circumstance. This applies to eponyms linked to Switzerland. The du Bois sign is an example. Neither was Charles du Bois the first person to describe the shortened fifth finger in cases of congenital syphilis, nor did he devise the sign’s currently accepted description (Tabl. I). Lastly, it is needless to say that eponyms originated from a given country provide just an inclusive and not a conclusive idea about its overall scientific contributions. EPONYMS IN DERMATOLOGY LITERATURE LINKED TO SWITZERLAND

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Cite this paper

@inproceedings{Kocher2012EponymsID, title={Eponyms in Dermatology Literature Linked to Switzerland}, author={Emil Theodor Kocher and Jacob Henle and Johann Lukas Sch{\"{o}nlein and Eduard Heinrich Henoch and Marion Baldur Sulzberger and Willy Burgdorfer and Hans Mooser}, year={2012} }