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  • Dr. Simon Moore MD CCFP

Are you outdated? QUIZ: Learn and use the newest medical terminology

Diabetic, Wegener's, Overdose...Can you identify which terms are no longer used?

Several familiar eponyms or medical terms are now discouraged. In order to be as up to date as possible, do you know which of the following terms you should AVOID using?

See below for answers!

1.   Down’s syndrome

2.   Overdose

3.   Reiter’s Syndrome

4.   Temporal Arteritis

5.   Moon facies

6.   Diabetic

7.   Wegener’s granulomatosis

8.   Lou Gehrig’s Disease

9.   Addison’s Disease

10.  Substance Abuse


Turns out, ALL of the above terms can be replaced by more accurate or less offensive terminology. Do you disagree? Can you think of some other important ones? Please submit your comments to us for our next edition!

1.   Down’s syndrome – now use TRISOMY 21

One reason eponym use is discouraged is because of inconsistent use. For example, Trisomy 21 has been inconsistently referred in publications as both Down’s and Down syndrome. Source

2.   Overdose – now use POISONING

This term is accused of being stigmatizing and clinically inaccurate. After all, we don’t say ‘alcohol overdose.’ Source

3.   Reiter’s syndrome – now use REACTIVE ARTHRITIS

Eponyms that celebrate criminals are now discouraged. Hans Reiter was a convicted Nazi war criminal who experimented on inmates. Source

4.   Temporal Arteritis – now use GIANT CELL ARTERITIS

This disease title is inaccurate because the disease extends beyond the temporal artery.

5.      Moon Facies / Buffalo Hump – now use FACIAL / BACK FAT REDISTRIBUTION

No source for this one but it sounds more polite (would you want to be called “moon face”?) Send us a note if you disagree so we can post your replies in an upcoming blog post!

6.      Diabetic, Schizophrenic – now use PERSON WITH / PATIENT WITH DIABETES / SCHIZOPHRENIA

This change is called “person-first language” – but is not without controversy.

7.   Wegener’s granulomatosis – now use GRANULOMATOSIS WITH POLYANGIITIS

Friedrich Wegener was a high-ranking Nazi and suspected war criminal who worked in a facility that performed experiments on inmates.  

8.   Lou Gehrig’s disease – now use AMYOTROPHIC LATERAL SCLEROSIS

9.   Addison’s disease – now use PRIMARY ADRENAL INSUFFICIENCY

10.  Substance Abuse – now use SUBSTANCE USE DISORDER

This was updated in DSM-5. Source

Do you disagree with any of the above? Can you think of some other important ones? Please submit your comments to us for our next edition!

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