Some Incorrect Disease Names: ITBS (NLKP), ADD/ADHD (SHP), Plantar Fasciitis (NFP)

Who Cares About Disease Names?

disease names

Pathologists for a Start!

disease names

As one of the few ‘straight’ aids buddies in the late 1980s, I can relate to this statement on a deep level.

Here’s an interesting quote concerning the importance of disease names:

An illness, at the moment of its discovery, is a fragile idea, a hothouse flower—deeply, disproportionately influenced by names and classifications. (More than a century later, in the early 1980s, another change in name—from gay related immune disease (GRID) to acquired immuno deficiency syndrome (AIDS)—would signal an epic shift in the understanding of that disease.*) Like Bennett, Virchow didn’t understand leukemia. But unlike Bennett, he didn’t pretend to understand it. His insight lay entirely in the negative. By wiping the slate clean of all preconceptions, he cleared the field for thought.

Quote from: The Emperor of Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee

How you name something will, to a large extent, determine how you think about. Because the Reagan administration thought of AIDS/HIV as a ‘gay’ problem, they appeared to consider themselves safe, I guess, and did nothing. Or it was simple homophobia at work – go figure. This attitude, with it’s associated administrative decisions, encouraged the spread of HIV into the ‘straight’ community. And thus was born a major public health disaster, in which disease names played an important role. By the way, straight is a weird name, because there is nothing straightforward about being straight, but that’s another story.

ITBS = NLKP (Nociceptive Lateral Knee Pain)

Here’s my iliotibial band story:

Need I say more?


ADD/ADHD = SHP (Saltatory Hyperattention Phenotype)

This is one of my pet peeves, so-called Attention Deficit Disorder, or ADD, which should be renamed SHP. There are too many people like this for it to be a disorder. I consider this to be a human phenotype. One that is not well designed for just fitting in with the social order of today.

disease names

Click image for source at BuzzFeed.

Not only is the name dreadful, marking these people as having a deficit, causing them to become a target for overprescribed drugs, like Adderall® and Ritalin®, it’s not even accurate. My name for this state of affairs is Saltatory Hyperattention Phenotype (SHP). Just watch these wonderful people, and you’ll see what I mean.

Saltatory: They jump from one hyper-focus to another (saltatory – like saltatory nerve conduction, from one node of Ranvier to the next).

Hyperattention: If you want them to focus on A for a while, and they jump to B or C, it’s not through lack of attention, but excessive attention on B or C, combined with an inability to stay on A, if they don’t want to.

disease names

Inconvenient? Give them pills!

Phenotypenoun, BIOLOGY

The set of observable characteristics of an individual resulting from the interaction of its genotype with the environment.

SHP is a classic example of phenotypic variance, which promotes survival of any species or group of organisms when the environment changes. It is also why one teaching method does not fit all students. SHP people need a different approach to life than my kind of phenotype. I border on OCD, which is common in research scientists, I suspect.

Change ADD or ADHD (H in this case = boredom) to SHP, and society’s approach to such people would migrate from drugs to admiration, and social leverage of their unique characteristics.


Plantar Fasciitis = NFP (Nociceptive Foot Pain)

Guess you can read the book, if you really want to know.

disease names

Well, I got that off my chest. That feels better!

Wishing you happy feet and happy trails,

kev aka FitOldDog


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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.