Doctors Rename Illnesses to Make Them More Appealing

Doctors rename an illness to make it more appealing

We recently saw an article on BBC News that caught our eye. It was about an experiment performed by a team of scientists at Stanford University that tested whether or not labeling vegetables with a seductive/indulgent name would increase their consumption.

So how do you turn a vegetable name into a seductive one? Examples included names like “twisted citrus-glazed carrots” and “dynamite chili and tangy lime-seasoned beets.”

At one of Stanford’s cafeterias, scientists measured the difference in consumption between the vegetables labeled with more “healthy” language (i.e. “smart-choice vitamin C citrus carrots”) and the more indulgent language. It turns out that the vegetable consumption increased by 25% with the indulgent labels!

This got us thinking… if you could rename a common sickness/disease/ailment that you see in your practice to make it sound more appealing, what would it be? We asked doctors on SERMO to answer that question, and here are some of their best responses!

“Diarrhea = Brown Poseidon” – Family medicine doctor in Italy

“Chronic fatigue syndrome = chronic relaxation syndrome…. sounds better to me….” – Emergency medicine doctor in the US

“Anemia – Blood lite” – Radiologist in the US

“Not diabetes but Excessive Sweetness Syndrome” – Ophthalmologist in the US

“Syncope: Acute Gravity Attack” – Cardiologist in the US

“Syphilis = Don Juan syndrome” – Pediatric Hematology Oncologist in Canada

“Noncompliant -> Treatment Ambivalent” – Psychiatrist in the US

“Erectile Impotence …… sleeping penis syndrome” – Family medicine doctor in Italy

“I would rename genital herpes to ‘viral vesicular pain disease’ ” – Pediatrician in the US

“Tinnitus – Ring a Ling a Ding Dong Disease” – Emergency Medicine doctor in the US

“If Herpes (which is ‘life over’ for some people) was called ‘Libido death sex pox’ would people think more about the risks they take?” – Psychiatrist in Canada

“Hiccups would be — Irritable Oesophagus Syndrome or Digestive Stutter.” – Pediatrician in Australia

“Instead of, ‘You just have a cold, you’ll get better with only symptomatic treatment,’ say, ‘I hereby diagnose you with mucopurulent rhinosinusitis. The recommended therapeutic regimen consists of sodium chloride nasal spray, acetaminophen tablets and chlorpheniramine at bedtime. Your prognosis for a full recovery is excellent if you follow my instructions exactly and whatever you do, do NOT take leftover antibiotics.’” – Internal medicine doctor in US

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