Background: Eponyms are commonly used in medicine, but there are no specific studies of the use of eponyms in clinical chemistry. Methods: Clinical chemistry eponyms were manually collected from books, review articles and journal articles from 1847 through 2020. Eponym usage was examined by searching titles and abstracts in PubMed. Custom Python scripts were used to first permute eponyms into multiple forms, and then to search PubMed using Biopython. The eponyms identified in PubMed were further focused on 2 clinical chemistry journals Clinica Chimica Acta [CCA] and Clinical Chemistry [CCJ]. Results: The manual collection identified >300 eponyms in clinical chemistry. The Biopython search of PubMed identified a subset of 97 unique eponyms in 33,232 articles. PubMed identified 26 eponyms used in 130 CCA articles; whereas a full-text search identified 1187 articles. In comparison, PubMed identified 36 eponyms used in 158 CCJ articles; whereas a full-text CCJ search identified 708 articles. PubMed shows that the journals CCA and CCJ had a peak number of eponym citations in 1977 followed by a steady decline. Conclusions: Eponyms have been frequently used in clinical chemistry with 97 eponyms in common use in PubMed. Overall, the use of clinical chemistry eponyms appears to be declining.
Naming chemical reactions, chemical reagents, mathematical equations, units, coefficients, constants, laws, diseases, and clinical signs and symptoms, after people (eponyms), places (toponyms) or mythical beings (mythonyms) is not uncommon, and there are a number of compendia of medical eponyms [1–3]. Likewise, in the field of clinical pathology there are compendia of eponyms used in hematology , and microbiology , but we are not aware of a compendium of eponyms relating specifically to clinical chemistry. There are some general works published at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century that list named “tests (reagents)” , reagents and reactions relevant to physiological-pathological chemistry , pharmacology/ toxicology , “tests and reagents known by their author’s names” of practical utility for “the busy chemist, microscopist, and pharmacist” , and reactions and reagents for the doctor, analyst, pharmacist, and chemist . Although these lists contain some clinical chemistry eponyms, by and large, they are general lists with an emphasis on chemistry tests and reagents. Eponyms abound in clinical chemistry, including some derived from general laboratory sciences (e.g., Erlenmeyer flask), or from the intersection of clinical chemistry with physics (e.g., Rayleigh scattering), biochemistry (e.g., Michaelis-Menten kinetics), and statistics (e.g., Kruskall-Wallis test). Recently, we examined the natural history of the Malloy-Evelyn Reaction, and traced the coinage and chronology of the adoption of this eponym . We have now extended our study of eponyms and have compiled a list of eponyms relating specifically to clinical chemistry methods, tests, reagents, apparatus, tables, formulae, and coefficients, and examined their usage in clinical chemistry over time.