13 Medical Conditions Named After People

RTimages/iStock via Getty Images
RTimages/iStock via Getty Images

Having a disease named after you is a decidedly mixed bag. On the one hand, your scientific developments are forever commemorated. On the other hand, though, you're stuck with the knowledge that no patient will ever be happy upon hearing your name. Who are the scientists and doctors behind some of our most famous diseases and conditions, though? Here are a few of the physicians and their eponymous ailments.

1. Crohn's disease

The inflammatory digestive disease could just have easily ended up with the name Ginzburg's disease or Oppenheimer's disease. In 1932, three New York physicians named Burrill Bernard Crohn, Leon Ginzburg, and Gordon Oppenheimer published a paper describing a new sort of intestinal inflammation. Since Crohn's name was listed first alphabetically, the condition ended up bearing his name.

2. Salmonellosis

Yes, the salmonella menace that haunts undercooked chicken is named after a person. Daniel Elmer Salmon was a veterinary pathologist who ran a USDA microorganism research program during the late 19th century. Although Salmon didn't actually discover the type of bacterium that now bears his name—famed epidemiologist Theobald Smith isolated the bacteria in 1885—he ran the research program in which the discovery occurred. Smith and his colleagues named the bacteria salmonella in honor of their boss.

3. Parkinson's disease

James Parkinson was a busy fellow. While the English apothecary had a booming medical business, he also dabbled in geology, paleontology, and politics; Parkinson even published a three-volume scientific study of fossils. Following a late-18th-century foray into British politics where he advocated a number of social causes and found himself briefly ensnared in an alleged plot to assassinate King George III, Parkinson turned his attention to medicine. Parkinson did some research on gout and peritonitis, but it was his landmark 1817 study "An Essay on the Shaking Palsy" that affixed his name to Parkinson's disease.

4. Huntington's disease

George Huntington wasn't the most prolific researcher, but he made his papers count. In 1872, a fresh-out-of-med-school Huntington published one of two research papers he would write in his life. In the paper, Huntington described the effects of the neurodegenerative disorder that now bears his name after examining several generations of family that all suffered from the genetic condition.

5. Alzheimer's disease

In 1901, German neuropathologist Alois Alzheimer began observing an odd patient at a Frankfurt asylum. The 51-year-old woman, Mrs. Auguste Deter, had no short-term memory and behaved strangely. When Mrs. Deter died in 1906, Alzheimer began to dissect the patient's brain, and he presented his findings that November in what was the first formal description of presenile dementia.

6. Tourette syndrome

Credit George Gilles de la Tourette for his modesty. When the French neurologist first described the illness that now bears his name in 1884, he didn't name it after himself. Instead, he referred to the condition as "maladie des tics." Tourette's mentor and contemporary Jean-Martin Charcot renamed the illness after Tourette.

Tourette didn't have such great luck with patients, though. In 1893, a deluded former patient shot the doctor in the head. The woman claimed that she lost her sanity after Tourette hypnotized her. Tourette survived the attack.

7. Hodgkin's lymphoma

British pathologist Thomas Hodgkin first described the cancer that now bears his name while working at Guy's Hospital in London in 1832. Hodgkin published the study "On Some Morbid Appearances of the Absorbent Glands and Spleen" that year, but the condition didn't bear his name until a fellow physician, Samuel Wilks, rediscovered Hodgkin's work.

8. Bright's disease

The kidney disease bears the name of Richard Bright, an English physician and colleague of Hodgkin's at Guy's Hospital. Bright began looking into the causes of kidney trouble during the 1820s, and in 1827 he described an array of kidney ailments that eventually became known as Bright's disease. Today, doctors understand many of the symptoms historically clumped together as Bright's disease are in fact different maladies, so the term is rarely used.

9. Addison's disease

Guy's Hospital was apparently the place to work in the 19th century if you wanted to have a disease named after you. Thomas Addison, a colleague of Bright and Hodgkin at Guy's Hospital, first described the adrenal disorder we call Addison's disease in 1855. On top of this discovery, Addison also published an early study of appendicitis.

10. Tay-Sachs disease

Although both of their names are attached to this genetic disorder, Warren Tay and Bernard Sachs didn't work together. In fact, they didn't even work in the same country. Tay, a British opthalmologist, first described the disease's characteristic red spot on the retina in 1881. In 1887 Bernard Sachs, a colleague of Burrill Crohn at Mount Sinai Hospital, described the cellular effects of the disease and its prevalence among Ashkenazi Jews.

11. Turner syndrome

The chromosomal disorder got its name from Oklahoma doctor Henry Turner, who first described the condition in 1938.

12. Klinefelter's syndrome

The genetic condition in which males have an extra X chromosome bears the name of Harry Klinefelter, a young Boston endocrinologist who published a landmark study while working under the tutelage of endocrinology star Dr. Fuller Albright in 1942. Albright pushed his young protégé to be the lead author of the paper that described the condition, so the young Klinefelter's name is forever associated with the syndrome.

13. Asperger's syndrome

Austrian pediatrician Hans Asperger first described the syndrome that now bears his name in 1944 after observing a group of children who suffered from what Asperger described as "autistic psychopathy." (He called his patients "Little Professors.") Interestingly, since Asperger's research was all written in German, his contributions to the literature went unrecognized until much later. The term "Asperger's syndrome" didn't come into widespread usage until 1981. Today it's classified as an autism spectrum disorder.

This story originally appeared in 2009.

8 Great Gifts for People Who Work From Home

A growing share of Americans work from home, and while that might seem blissful to those trapped in long commutes, it's not always easy to live, eat, and work in the same space. Here are some useful tools and sweet surprises to help make a telecommuter's life a little easier.

1. Folding Book Stand; $7

A foldable metal book stand holding paper
Hatisan / Amazon

Useful for anyone who works with books or documents, this thick wire frame is strong enough for heavier textbooks or tablets. Best of all, it folds down flat, so you can slip it into your backpack or laptop case and take it out at the library or wherever you need it. The stand does double-duty in the kitchen as a cookbook holder, too.

Buy It: Amazon

2. Duraflame Electric Fireplace; $210

Duraflame electric fireplace
Duraflame / Amazon

Nothing says cozy like a fireplace, but not everyone is so blessed—or has the energy to keep a fire going during the work day. This Duraflame electric fireplace can help keep a workspace warm by providing up to 1000 square feet of comfortable heat, and has adjustable brightness and speed settings. You can even operate it without heat if you just crave the ambiance of an old-school gentleman's study (leather-top desk and shelves full of arcane books cost extra).

Buy It: Amazon

3. Sips By Subscription Tea Service; $15/month

Assorted teas and Sipsby tea subscription service packaging
Sips By

A steady stream of hot beverages is key to productivity, and Sips by is a lovely way to keep the tea chest replenished. (Plus, who doesn't love getting presents in the mail each month?) Your giftee can fill out a personalized tea profile, and each month selections of four different kinds of premium tea will arrive. Each batch makes enough for 15-plus cups, and there are cute reusable bags provided for the loose-leaf teas, which also makes them portable for on-the-go days.

Buy It: Sips by

4. Solstice Beeswax Aromatherapy Candles; $35

Solstice Naturals Lavender 100% Pure Beeswax Aromatherapy Candle
Solstice / Amazon

People who work at home all day, especially in a smaller space, often struggle to "turn off" at the end of the day. One way to unwind and signal that work is done is to light a candle. Burning beeswax candles helps clean the air, and essential oils are a better health bet than artificial fragrances. Lavender is especially relaxing. (Just use caution around essential-oil-scented products and pets.)

Buy It: Amazon

5. HÄNS Swipe-Clean; $15

HÄNS Swipe being used on a tablet
HÄNS / Amazon

If you're carting your laptop and phone from the coffee shop to meetings to the co-working space, they're going to get gross—fast. HÄNS Swipe is a dual-sided device that cleans on one side and polishes on the other, and it's a great solution for keeping germs at bay, especially in cold and flu season. It's also nicely portable, since there's nothing to spill. Plus, it's refillable, and the polishing cloth is washable and re-wrappable, making it a much more sustainable solution than individually wrapped wipes.

Buy It: Amazon

6. Laptop Side Table; $100

Oversized Wood and Metal Laptop Table
World Market

Sometimes you don't want to be stuck at a desk all day long. This industrial-chic side table can act as a laptop table, too, with room for your computer, coffee, notes, and more. It also works as a TV table—not that you (or your giftee) would ever watch TV during work hours.

Buy It: World Market

7. Moleskine Classic Notebook; $12

Moleskine Classic Notebook in black
Moleskin / Amazon

Plenty of people who work from home (well, plenty of people in general) find paper journals and planners essential, whether they're used for bullet journaling, time-blocking, or just writing good old-fashioned to-do lists. However you (or your intended recipient) organize their life, there's a journal out there that's perfect, but for starters it's hard to top a good Moleskin. These are available dotted (the bullet journal fave), plain, ruled, or squared, and in a variety of colors. (You can find other supply ideas for bullet journaling here.)

Buy It: Amazon

8. Nexstand Laptop Stand; $34

Nextstand Portable Laptop Stand
Nexstand / Amazon

For the person who works from home and is on the taller side, this portable laptop stand is a back-saver. It folds down flat so it can be tossed into the bag and taken to the coffee shop or co-working spot, where it often generates an admiring comment or three. It works best alongside a portable external keyboard and mouse.

Buy It: Amazon

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

7 Things We Know (So Far) About Baby Yoda, the Breakout Star of The Mandalorian

© Lucasfilm
© Lucasfilm

From the moment he appeared onscreen in the closing moments of the premiere episode of the new Disney+ series The Mandalorian on November 12, the creature referred to as Baby Yoda has become an internet sensation not seen since the likes of the IKEA monkey. The Rock has displayed his affection for the cooing green infant on Instagram; a man purportedly got a tattoo of Baby Yoda holding a White Claw seltzer and insists it’s permanent; and a Change.org petition is underway demanding a Baby Yoda emoji.

That Baby Yoda has gripped the imagination of the country is no small feat, as precious little has been revealed about his origins other than that he appears to be a member of the same unnamed species as Jedi master Yoda, which has traditionally been shrouded in secrecy. More will be revealed as The Mandalorian continues its weekly run through December 27. In the meantime, here’s what we know so far about the alarmingly adorable creature canonically known as “The Child.”

1. Baby Yoda is 50 years old, but he still seems a bit behind developmentally.

Owing to the long lifespan of Yoda’s species—Yoda himself lived to be roughly 900 years old before expiring in 1983’s Return of the Jedi, set five years prior to the events of the Disney+ series—it makes sense that the “baby” in the show is the human equivalent of someone about to subscribe to AARP: The Magazine. We learn Baby Yoda’s age in the first episode, where Mando is told he’s being tasked with finding a target that age. It’s a clever bit of misdirection that sets up the climactic reveal that the bounty hunter is after an infant.

And though his habits—tasting space frogs and playing with spaceship knobs—seem developmentally accurate, child experts told Popular Mechanics that such curiosity is more in line with a 1-year-old, not the 5-year-old Baby Yoda might be analogous to in human years. He’s also not terribly verbose, putting him behind what one might expect of a person his relative age.

2. Baby Yoda is male.

After rescuing Baby Yoda from an untimely demise at the hands of bounty hunter IG-11 in the debut episode, the titular Mandalorian takes off with his young bounty to deliver him to his Imperial employer known as the Client (Werner Herzog). In episode 3, the Client receives the baby; his underling, Doctor Pershing, (Omid Abtahi) refers to the character as “him.” A pre-order page for a Mattel plush Baby Yoda also refers to the character as a "he." We have, however, seen a female member of Yoda’s species before. In 1999’s Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace, a green-skinned Yaddle sits wordlessly on the Jedi Council.

3. Baby Yoda’s genetics are of great interest to what’s left of the Empire.

Why was Mando sent to fetch Baby Yoda? From what we could gather in episode three, the Client was desperate to gather knowledge from the creature, with Doctor Pershing told to extract something from his tiny body. That motive has yet to be revealed, but thanks to The Phantom Menace, we know Force-sensitive individuals can carry a large number of Midi-chlorians, or cells that can attenuate themselves to the Force. One fan theory speculates that these cells can be harvested, creating people with greater capabilities to wield Jedi powers.

4. Using the Force really tires Baby Yoda out.

In episode 2, a battle-weary Mando is in real danger of being trampled by a Mudhorn, a savage beast. Channeling his (presumed) Force abilities, Baby Yoda is able to dispatch of the threat, but the effort seems to exhaust him, and he spends most of the rest of the episode sound asleep.

5. Baby Yoda might become a Jedi Master in a hurry.

Despite his infantile status, it seems like it won’t be long, relatively speaking, before Baby Yoda achieves the Zen-like mindset and formidable skills of a Jedi Master. It’s been pointed out that Yoda achieved that rank at the age of 100, at which point he began training Jedis. That would mean Yoda’s species is capable of some pretty rapid development between the ages of 50 and 100.

6. Werner Herzog has a soft spot for Baby Yoda.

Herzog, the famously irascible director of such films as 2005’s documentary Grizzly Man and 1972's Aguirre: The Wrath of God, portrays the man known as the Client, out to capture Baby Yoda. Interacting with the puppet on set was apparently a source of amusement for the part-time actor, who sometimes addressed Baby Yoda as though he were not made of rubber. "One of the weirdest moments I had on set, in my life, was trying to direct Werner with the baby,” series director Deborah Chow told The New York Times. “How did I end up with Werner Herzog and Baby Yoda? That was amazing. Werner had absolutely fallen in love with the puppet. He, at some point, had literally forgotten that it wasn’t a real being and was talking to the child as though it was a real, existing creature.”

Herzog was so emotionally invested in Baby Yoda that he reacted harshly when The Mandalorian creator Jon Favreau and producer and director Dave Filoni spoke of wanting to shoot some scenes without the puppet so they could add him as a computer-generated effect later in case the live-action creature wasn’t convincing. “You are cowards,” Herzog told them. “Leave it.”

7. Baby Yoda bootleg merchandise has become a force.

When Favreau decided to keep Baby Yoda under tight wraps before the premiere of The Mandalorian, it forced Disney to postpone plans for tie-in merchandising, which can often leak plot points from film and television projects in retailer solicitations months in advance. As a result, precious little Baby Yoda merchandise is available, save for some hastily-assembled shirts and mugs on the Disney Store website. That leaves craftspeople on Etsy and other outlets to fabricate bootleg Baby Yoda plush dolls and other items.

The shortage runs parallel to the predicament faced by toy maker Kenner upon the release of the original Star Wars in 1977. Faced with a huge and unexpected holiday demand for action figures, the company was forced to sell consumers an empty box with a voucher for the toys redeemable the following year.

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