New name for Diabetes Insipidus (DI)

From the desk of J D Faccinetti, PWN co-founder:  Well, it looks like Diabetes Insipidus is on the way out, at least from the naming point of view. After the work done in Basel (Universitätsspital Basel), recently published in The Lancet, an international consensus group proposed a name change from Diabetes Insipidus to Arginine Vasopressin Deficiency or AVP-D, or Arginine Vasopressin Resistance or AVP-R, depending on the type. (Click here to learn more about the two types of DI). So, if this group has its way, the name will be changed, and we think this is a great idea, but it will take time!

At the center of this effort was the confusion with diabetes-mellitus (sugar), leading to bad outcomes. If you want to learn more, this article, by Mirjam Christ-Crain, MD, Ph.D., will give you a good overview of the issues that led to the proposed name change.

This video interview with Dr. Miles Levy, an expert endocrinologist from University Hospitals of Leicester, Leicester, UK, explains why Diabetes Insipidus is a misleading name for a rare condition. In a recent paper, Dr. Levy discusses some of the group’s issues when deciding the name change; he writes, “This is more difficult. Like naming a child, everyone has their favourite, unconscious bias is at play, and nothing in life is perfect. The sole ambition was always to remove the word Diabetes. Names suggested and discarded along the way have included Pituitary Insipidus (etymologically incorrect, and not all patients have pituitary disease), ADH Deficiency (abbreviates to ADHD), and Vasopressin Deficiency (abbreviates to VD – even worse!). “

While I understand the medical and scientific naming conventions for diseases, my communications bias wishes we would consider that a name change can pose significant challenges for promotion and communication. It appears this group has thought about the communications aspects of naming. However, you must agree that “Arginine Vasopressin Deficiency or Resistance” is a mouth full. Although I’m sure we will eventually end up with a suitable abbreviation, I would always recommend medical and scientific naming groups seek the opinion of trained branding and communication experts before they settle on a new name and make those pesky new names more approachable.

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