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How Certain Diseases We Are Familiar With Today, Got Their Names, According To Scientists

Feature Article How Certain Diseases We Are Familiar With Today, Got Their Names, According To Scientists
AUG 12, 2022 LISTEN

The names of diseases come from a variety of places, including Latin and Greek antecedents, geographical names, the names of the physicians who discovered them, or well-known individuals who had them. Here are a few ailments and the intriguing origins of their names.

Norovirus: In 1968, 150 pupils at Bronson Elementary School in Norwalk, Ohio, USA, contracted a severe case of diarrhea and vomiting. The cause of the problem was eventually identified after four years and numerous stool tests under the various names of "winter sickness," "vomit bug," and stomach flu.

The name of the city was adopted as the virus's moniker once it was isolated and discovered by the researchers. As similar viruses caused comparable outbreaks in the years that followed, doctors started referring to the Norwalk virus and its close cousins as norovirus. Sadly, norovirus is still frequently to blame for these mini-epidemics in schools.

Despite being a fairly rare disease in general, Kaposi's sarcoma is identified in 40–60% of AIDS patients, and the prevalence of this type of cancer pathology has significantly grown since the 1990s due to the AIDS epidemic. Photo credit: dr-ma-ansaryscience-photo-library.

Listeria: Listeria, or Bocium monocytogenes, is a rod-shaped bacteria that is spread through contaminated food. It was initially detected in 1924, and E. G. D. Murray advocated naming it after Joseph Lister, a British surgeon who passed away in 1912. However, one of the mold kinds already had his name attached, so Murray ultimately chose another name (listeria).

The naming of a potentially lethal bacterium after a scientist or physician was regarded as an honor in the scientific and medical societies. But compared to how he was regarded during his lifetime, Joseph Lister had enormous fame after his death. Lister observed that between 1861 and 1865, half of the amputated patients on his ward perished from what is now known as surgical or operational sepsis while he was employed at the Royal Glasgow Infirmary.

Lister experimented with numerous methods to combat germs in the operating room with the presumption that illnesses and infections are brought on by germs. He recommended certain actions that now seem second nature, like washing your hands and disinfecting your tools with antiseptic. The surgical death rate in his unit fell to 15% by 1869, then to nil six years later.

The medical community in America and Europe started to gradually promote the use of sterilized instruments and gloves in operating rooms after Lister presented his findings in 1877.

Cholera: From roughly the third century BC through the late 1800s, humor theory was the dominant medical doctrine. This idea states that the body is made up of four primary elements known as humor, which are blood, bile, black bile, and sputum. The body becomes unbalanced if any of them are present in excess. Accordingly, everything that aids in eliminating the excess of one or more humor only serves to help the body's internal balance be restored.

Χολή in Greek denotes bile, one of these humor. Initially, the name ‘cholera’ was used to refer to any of several bacterial or viral diseases that caused vomiting and diarrhea, which, by humoral theory, was a filthy but efficient method of removing bile.

Legionnaires' disease: At their annual conference held at the Bellevue, Stratford Hotel in Philadelphia, United States, members of the American Legion (Association of American Veterans) commemorated the bicentennial of the country's establishment in 1976. Participants soon started to experience chest discomfort, disorientation, nausea, and diarrhea. The fact that many veterans did not experience symptoms until they returned home was especially concerning.

Fears that the 'Philadelphia illness,' as it was initially known, would spread outside of the city were consequently raised. A total of 182 legionnaires got sick, and 29 of them passed away. A novel strain of bacteria called Legionella pneumophila was discovered to be the disease's cause a few months later by scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They were reproducing, the researchers discovered, in the hotel's water cooling tower.

The system circulated air through the tower's cold water to chill the hotel rooms. The extra heat was subsequently discharged from the tower's top, and a cloud of steam and Legionella plummeted onto the hotel's guests who were gathering in the outdoor leisure area.

Dengue: Medical historians have discovered the first reference to the fever, headache, and rash symptoms of dengue fever in the Chinese Medical Encyclopedia from the third century BC. The Swahili phrase for a sudden convulsive attack brought on by an evil spirit is translated as "dengue" in Spanish.

However, the Chinese were already referring to dengue as "water poisoning" by the time it was mentioned in this book from the Qin Dynasty and were aware that flying insects were a contributing factor. Today, we know that infected mosquitoes, which frequently inhabit areas with a lot of standing water, are the carriers of dengue fever.

Influenza: The word influenza, which has been used to describe the flu for a long time, is Italian for "influence." The Latin word "influentia," from which the Italian word derives, means "to flow in," and it dates back to a time when people in the Middle Ages believed that you could be affected by liquid coming from the stars. However, science eventually revealed to the world that the flu is brought on by the effect of any virus belonging to a specific class.

Syphilis: Every nation in Europe in the fourteenth century, which was rife with perpetual conflict, tended to accuse its adversaries of disseminating deadly diseases and to give them specific names. Examples include the "Neapolitan disease" among the French and the "French disease" among the Italians for what finally came to be known as syphilis.

After the Italian physician and poet Girolamo Fracastoro published a poem about the illness in 1530, these name games came to a stop in the 16th century. The main character, named Syphil, had recently been diagnosed with it. The topic of how syphilis first came to remains unresolved, even though the fact that we now know what to call this sickness, and scientists have identified the organism that causes it, Treponema pallidum.

Asperger's syndrome: A disease of mental development known as Asperger's syndrome manifests itself in a variety of ways. Asperger's syndrome is frequently associated with difficulty in social interaction, which is why many people mistake it for high-functioning autism. The term "Asperger's syndrome" is not present in the fifth version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which was released in the US in 2013. Autism spectrum disorder is used as a substitute.

The syndrome bears the name of Hans Asperger, a physician and pediatrician from Austria (full name: Johann Friedrich Karl Asperger). He first identified such behavioral characteristics in kids who have trouble relating to others and are unwilling to use nonverbal cues in 1944. He used the Soviet doctor Grunya Sukhareva's account of childhood autism as a starting point.

Down Syndrome: One of the most prevalent genetic anomalies in the world, this one is unaffected by one's quality of life.

There is a misunderstanding that the name of the syndrome is connected to mental retardation because of the consonance between the surname Down and the English word down, which is pronounced "down," and signifies "down." However, this is untrue.

English physician John Langdon Down originally described the condition in 1862. He also published "Observations on the ethnic classification of mentally handicapped people" four years later. In this book, he was the first to describe the physical characteristics and general health of those who had the syndrome that bears his name. He was also the first to discuss the significance of articulatory gymnastics for such individuals.

Parkinson's disease: What is this disease in plain English, what causes it to develop, where does it come from, and how does it manifest itself?

When loved ones are seen who have trembling muscles at repose and who have shaking hands and shaking the head, relatives become highly alarmed. The progressive degeneration of brain cells responsible for motor functions is the pathology that results in this. The disease strikes when a person is at their most active, which is the worst possible scenario (50-60 years). All essential functions gradually slowly deteriorate as a result, including mental and physical ability.

Early in the nineteenth century, the British physician James Parkinson used the term "trembling paralysis" to identify and define the illness for the first time. Since then, this pathology has been the subject of intensive research. After Alzheimer's, the disease is ranked second in terms of prevalence by scientists. The number of tremor sufferers has dramatically increased up to this point. One percent of the world's population is over the age of 60, while between three and four percent are between 80 and 85. Unfortunately, young adults between the ages of 20 and 40 can occasionally develop the neurodegenerative illness.

Ebola, Marburg, Crimea, and Lassa fever: All the mentioned diseases are hemorrhagic because the victims bleed to death. On October 12, 1976, there were significant outbreaks of an unidentified disease in both Sudan and the Republic of the Congo (at the time, Zaire), and nearly all the patients died. Because the illness was a hemorrhagic fever, victims bled to death.

The research allowed for the isolation of a virus that resembled the Marburg virus morphologically. After a tiny river in Zaire, close to the settlement of Yambuku, where the epidemic was first noticed, the isolated causative agent of this sickness was given the name Ebola virus. Despite the territories' proximity, outbreaks in Sudan and Zaire had different mortality rates.

In Russia, the Crimea virus first surfaced in 1944. The Institute of Virology at the Philippe University of Marburg discovered the disease's primary agent, the Marburg virus, named after the city of Marburg in Germany, in 1967, before hemorrhagic fever infected the Congo in 1976.

In the same year, it also arrived in Belgrade, Serbia, and Frankfurt, another German city. The cities were given their names as a result of the finding. In 1969, Lassa fever—another hemorrhagic fever—occurred in this little Nigerian village. The name of the illness derives from this.

Burkitt's lymphoma: A Cancer of the lymphatic system, namely B-lymphocytes found in the germ center, is called Burkitt's lymphoma. It is named after Irish surgeon Denis Parsons Burkitt, who initially identified the condition in 1958 while conducting research in equatorial Africa. In developed nations, the overall cure rate for Burkitt's lymphoma is over 90%; but in low-income nations, the rate is significantly lower.

It is a non-lymphoma Hodgkin's that is extremely malignant. The major emphasis may be concentrated not just in the lymph nodes but also in several number of other organs and tissues, including the mammary glands, stomach, intestines, and bones of the facial skeleton.

Fever, jaundice, dyspepsia, skeletal bone abnormalities, and neurological diseases are the symptoms of Burkitt's lymphoma. The diagnosis is established using the results of previous studies, the biopsy, and the examination. Chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery are all forms of treatment.

Kaposi’s sarcoma: A malignant tumor with a vascular origin, Kaposi's sarcoma affects the patient's skin and lymphatic system. About 30% of people with HIV/AIDS or other forms of the human immunodeficiency virus develop this type of cancer.

Although Kaposi's sarcoma is a very uncommon disease in general, it is diagnosed in 40–60% of AIDS patients, and the prevalence of this form of cancer pathology has increased dramatically since the beginning of the 1990s as a result of the AIDS epidemic.

In European countries, the disease is noted more often in people of advanced age — from 50 years and above. Men are more susceptible to this disease than women. The disease was first described in 1872 by dermatologist Moritz Kaposi, from whose surname it got its name.

Nodding disease: Slanderous scientists who cover up medical fraud refer to it as a "strange disease," but God knows best. Nodding illness is a condition that struck Sudan in the 1960s. Only kids, typically between the ages of 5 and 15, are affected by this physically and intellectually crippling disorder. Currently, just a few tiny areas in South Sudan, Tanzania, and northern Uganda are affected.

The disease was initially identified in 1962 as existing in remote mountainous areas of Tanzania; however, the connection between this disease and nodding syndrome has only recently been made. Before the South Sudan outbreaks and subsequent limited spread, the disease was first described as existing in these areas.

Nodding illness causes a total and permanent development delay in children. Mental retardation results from the slowing down of brain development. The illness is so called because the sufferers continuously nod their heads when kids begin feeding or, occasionally, when they become cold. Patients with seizures are frequently restrained to items to prevent them from injuring themselves.

As I've previously stated, I never studied medicine in school. Before I became friends with the late Dutch scientist and micro-surgeon Johan van Dongen and the German doctor Wolff Geisler, I had no idea where many diseases came from. My capacity to write medical articles is improved by the books and medical documents I obtained from them during my visit.

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