Trends in dermatology eponyms


BACKGROUND: Eponyms are ubiquitous in dermatology; however, their usage trends have not been studied. OBJECTIVE: To characterize the usage of eponyms in dermatology from 1880 to 2020. METHODS: Candidate eponyms were collected from a textbook and an online resource. A subset of these eponyms was deemed to be dermatology-focused by a panel of experienced dermatologists. Python scripts were used to permute eponyms into multiple variations and automatically search PubMed using BioPython’s Entrez library. RESULTS: The dermatologist panel designated 373 of 529 candidate eponyms as dermatology-focused. These eponyms were permuted into 3159 variations and searched in PubMed. The highest occurring dermatology-focused eponyms (DFEs) in the year 2020 included Leishmania, Behçet syndrome, Kaposi sarcoma, Langerhans cell histiocytosis, and Mohs surgery. Increased DFE usage in the general medical literature parallels the overall increase in the use of other eponyms in the medical literature. However, in the most cited dermatology journals, DFE usage did not increase in the past decade. There were several eponyms with decreased usage. LIMITATIONS: This study is limited to the publications in PubMed; only titles and abstracts could be queried. CONCLUSION: DFEs are increasing in usage in the general medical literature, but the usage of eponyms in the most cited dermatology journals has plateaued.

Toby C. Cornish
Toby C. Cornish
Professor of Pathology and Data Science Institute

Clinical informaticist, gastrointestinal pathologist, and researcher.