Fillers When I use a word …

Allergy and immunity

BMJ 1999; 319 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.319.7205.308 (Published 31 July 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;319:308
  1. Jeff Aronson, clinical pharmacologist
  1. Oxford

    At a witness seminar, 15 or so key figures are gathered together and allowed to talk freely about historical events in which they took part, supporting or correcting one another as may be. Tilly Tansey has organised more than a dozen of these at the Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine since 1993 and two volumes of proceedings have been published by the Wellcome Trust (see Med Hist 1998; 42:404-5). In one of these meetings, “Self and Non-Self: a History of Autoimmunity,” held in February 1995, Professor Robin Coombs from Cambridge complained about the word “autoimmunity,” which he described as “misconstrued, absurd, and extremely confusing.” The word we should use, he said, is “autoallergy.”

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