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Syndrome

Syndrome

Syndrome in medicine and psychology is the association of several clinically recognizable features, signs (observed by a physician), symptoms (reported by the patient), phenomena or characteristics that often occur together, so that the presence of one or more features alerts the physician to the possible presence of the others.

Specific syndromes tend to have a range of possible etiologies or diseases that could create such a set of circumstances.

For example there is an important distinction between Parkinson's disease and a Parkinsonian syndrome, whereby the latter could be caused by the former, but also by other conditions such as a progressive supranuclear palsy or multiple system atrophy. In other words, in a medical setting, a syndrome might narrow down the possible diseases a patient may possess, just as speaking English might focus a guess as to the country in which that person originates.

The Term Syndrome is most often used to refer to the set of detectable characteristics when the reason that they occur together (the pathophysiology of the syndrome) has not yet been discovered. 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.

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