In medicine and psychology, a syndrome is the association of several clinically recognizable features, signs (observed by someone other than the patient), symptoms (reported by the patient), phenomena or characteristics that often occur together, so that the presence of one or more features alerts the healthcare provider to the possible presence of the others. In recent decades, the term has been used outside medicine to refer to a combination of phenomena seen in association.
Some syndromes, such as Down syndrome, have only one cause; others, such as Parkinsonian syndrome, have multiple possible causes. In other cases, the cause of the syndrome is unknown.
The term syndrome derives from the Greek συνδρομή (sundromē) and means "concurrence of symptoms, concourse", from σύν (syn), "along with, together" + δρόμος (dromos), amongst others "course".
A familiar syndrome name often continues to be used even after an underlying cause has been found, or when there are a number of different primary causes that all give rise to the same combination of symptoms and signs. Many syndromes are named after the physicians credited with first reporting the association; these are "eponymous" syndromes (see also the list of eponymous diseases, many of which are called "syndromes"). Otherwise, disease features or presumed causes, as well as references to geography, history or poetry, can lend their names to syndromes.
Famous quotes containing the word syndrome:
“[T]he syndrome known as life is too diffuse to admit of palliation. For every symptom that is eased, another is made worse. The horse leechs daughter is a closed system. Her quantum of wantum cannot vary.”
—Samuel Beckett (19061989)
“Women are taught that their main goal in life is to serve othersfirst men, and later, children. This prescription leads to enormous problems, for it is supposed to be carried out as if women did not have needs of their own, as if one could serve others without simultaneously attending to ones own interests and desires. Carried to its perfection, it produces the martyr syndrome or the smothering wife and mother.”
—Jean Baker Miller (20th century)