by: Brian Chau, MS 3

Ever heard of Asboe-Hansen Sign? Beau’s Lines? Hickams Dictum? Brompton’s Cocktail? Eponyms such as these can be incredibly frustrating to remember, but the Eponyms app from Pascal Pfiffner and Andrew Yee is here to help.

Boasting an amazing 1,700+ eponyms and 28 searchable categories, Eponyms for the iOS is available for Free (student users) or $1.99 (other users).

If you are unfamiliar with the concept of medical eponyms, brace yourself, because the medical field is filled with them! Merriam-Webster defines an eponym as: 1. one for whom or which something is or is believed to be named or 2. a name (as of a drug or a disease) based on or derived from an eponym.

First-year medical students may attest to the overwhelming array of eponyms taught in medical curriculum, especially in Gross Anatomy. While the current trend is to de-emphasize eponyms, these terms still persist and familiarity with them will certainly help students through their medical education.

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The Eponyms app sports a simple layout for easy browsing. Upon loading Eponyms, users can select to browse terms organized by “Categories”, “Starred”, “All” or “Recently loaded.”

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Unfortunately, there isn’t a search function on the main landing page. This isn’t a huge issue, as users can simply tap “All Eponyms” and elect to search from there. Still, having a search function from the start would help users speed up their eponyms searches. Find a particular eponym that you know you’ll need to come back to? Simply “Star” it for easy location later.

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If you are a user interested in actually memorizing various eponyms, then check out the Learn Mode function. On the iPad this feature is auto-enabled by default. On the iPod or iPhone, simply tap the (i) button in the top right corner, select “Options” and enable the Learn Mode.

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This mode allows the user to view just the titles of a random eponym on the last used category.

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Shaking the device will allow the user to view text only; tapping the “…” reveals the answer to the text term. It’s a neat quiz feature, but it’s not as practical as an actual flashcard app function would be for long-term study sessions.

Eponyms is available for free or $1.99, through iTunes. Why two prices? The developer, Pascall Pfiffner, asks that students use the free version, with all other users paying the $1.99. It’s basically an honor system, and it’s very encouraging to see a developer offering such an option in today’s DRM-heavy environment.

This app requires iOS 3.0 or later and runs on the iPod Touch, iPhone and iPad. There is also an Android version available, as well as versions for Palm Pre, Windows Mobile and other operating systems.

Likes:

  • Massive selection of medical eponyms
  • straight forward app design for easy browsing
  • Free for students

Dislikes:

  • Search function on landing page would expedite searches
  • Learn Mode would be better off as a flash card feature

Conclusion:

  • The Eponyms app from Andrew Yee and Pascal Pfiffner is a fantastic collection of eponyms.
  • From the esoteric to the frequently-encountered, Eponyms is a valuable resource for students and practicing physicians alike.

Links: Developer, iTunes