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The naming of parts
  1. J M S Pearce
  1. Anlaby, East Yorks, UK; jmsp{at}

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    Many deplore the journalistic trend to label well recognised conditions by acronyms, or by recently invented names—commonly to no useful purpose. Thus neurologists may not welcome yet another two names, recorded in past literature but not in general currency.

    Umapathi et al give a most valuable and timely review of the dropped head and bent spine syndromes.1 But why perpetuate the ungainly phrase head ptosis? Ptosis, Greek πτωσιζ = falling, has traditionally been applied only to the upper eyelid and to prolapse of any of the viscera or of the breasts. Head drop is short and its meaning is unequivocal.

    Camptocormia, Greek καμπνλ = bent; κορμοζ = trunk of a tree: but, like a few others,2 Umapathi et al apply it to signify a bent spine. Camptocormia was first an illness occurring among soldiers in World Wars I and II, and was regarded as a sign of hysteria. Ankylosing spondylitis is a more frequent cause. It is an ostentatious word that portends something more mysterious than a bent back or neck. To be similarly pretentious, can we not survive without such euphuisms?


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