A syndrome is a recognisable complex of symptoms and signs which indicate a specific disease or condition for which a direct cause is not necessarily understood. Thus in practice doctors refer to the famous "viral syndrome" as such because we are never really sure just which of the legion of viral agents is causing the illness. Once medical science identiies a causative agent or process with a fair degree of certainty, we call it the process a disease, not a syndrome. Mucocutaneous lymph node syndrome became Kawasaki syndrome which in turn metamorphosed into Kawasaki disease (which is properly a disease, no longer a syndrome, by virtue of its clearly identifiable diagnositic features and disease progression, and response to specific treatment).

Thus the word "syndrome" fills physicians' need for a term that combines a useful exterior facade of medical certainty with a soul of nebulosity.

Night, Night! Dr. Hull's Common Sense Sleep Solutions© Copyright© Site Information/Disclaimer