Nosology (from Ancient Greek νόσος (nosos), meaning "disease", and -λογία (-logia), meaning "study of-") is a branch of medicine that deals with classification of diseases.


Types of Classification

Diseases may be classified by etiology (cause), pathogenesis (mechanism by which the disease is caused), or by symptom(s). Alternatively, diseases may be classified according to the organ system involved, though this is often complicated since many diseases affect more than one organ.

A chief difficulty in nosology is that diseases often cannot be defined and classified clearly, especially when etiology or pathogenesis are unknown. Thus diagnostic terms often only reflect a symptom or set of symptoms (syndrome).


One of the earliest efforts at developing a classification of diseases began in the 10th century, when the Arabian psychologist Najab ud-din Unhammad classified a nosology of nine major categories of mental disorders, which included 30 different mental illnesses in total. Some of the categories he described included obsessive-compulsive disorders, delusional disorders, degenerative diseases, involutional melancholia, and states of abnormal excitement.[1][verification needed]

In the 18th century, the taxonomist Carolus Linnaeus, Francois Boissier de Sauvages, and psychiatrist Phillipe Pinel developed an early classification of physical illnesses. Thomas Sydenham's work in the late 17th century might also be considered a nosology. In the 19th century, Emil Kraepelin and then Jacques Bertillon developed their own nosologies. Bertillon's work, classifying causes of death, was a precursor of the modern code system, the International Classification of Diseases.

The early nosological efforts grouped diseases by their symptoms, whereas modern systems (e.g. SNOMED) focus on grouping diseases by the anatomy and etiology involved.


  • Nosology is used extensively in public health, to allow epidemiological studies of public health issues. Analysis of death certificates requires nosological coding of causes of death.
  • Nosological classifications are used in medical administration, such as filing of health insurance claims, and patient records, among others

See also


  1. ^ Millon, Theodore (2004), Masters of the Mind: Exploring the Story of Mental Illness from Ancient Times to the New Millennium, John Wiley & Sons, p. 38, ISBN 9780471469858 

External links

  • Gordon L. Snider, Nosology for Our Day Its Application to Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine Vol 167. pp. 678–683, (2003). fulltext
  • C. S. Herrman, The Bipolar Spectrum, SSRN (Social Science Research Network, 5 August 2010), [1]
  • An online resource for nosologic diagnostic systems. This site also demonstrates how the proposed system can be used currently in Neurology and Psychiatry
  • [2]: International Classification of Diseases by the World Health Organization.

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Нужно решить контрольную?

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Nosology — No*sol o*gy, n. [Gr. no sos disease + logy: cf. F. nosologie.] 1. A systematic arrangement, or classification, of diseases. [1913 Webster] 2. That branch of medical science which treats of diseases, or of the classification of diseases. [1913… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • nosology — (n.) study of diseases, 1721, from Mod.L. nosologia (perhaps via Fr. nosologie), from NOSO (Cf. noso ) + LOGY (Cf. logy). Related: Nosological; nosologist …   Etymology dictionary

  • nosology — [nō säl′ə jē] n. [ModL nosologia: see NOSO & LOGY] 1. classification of diseases 2. the branch of medicine dealing with this nosologic [näs΄ō läj′ik] adj. nosological nosologically adv …   English World dictionary

  • nosology — pathology pa*thol o*gy ( j[y^]), n.; pl. {pathologies} ( j[i^]z). [Gr. pa qos a suffering, disease + logy: cf. F. pathologie.] 1. (Med.) The science which treats of diseases, their nature, causes, progress, symptoms, etc. [1913 Webster] Note:… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • nosology —   n. classification of diseases.    ♦ nosography, n. descriptive nosology.    ♦ nosomania, n. delusion of suffering from imaginary disease.    ♦ nosophobia, n. morbid dread of disease …   Dictionary of difficult words

  • nosology — noun Etymology: probably from New Latin nosologia, from Greek nosos disease + New Latin logia logy Date: circa 1721 1. a classification or list of diseases 2. a branch of medical science that deals with classification of diseases • nosological or …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • nosology — nosological /nos euh loj i keuhl/, adj. nosologically, adv. nosologist, n. /noh sol euh jee/, n. 1. the systematic classification of diseases. 2. the knowledge of a disease. [1715 25; < NL nosologia. See NOSO , LOGY] * * * …   Universalium

  • nosology — noun a) A treatise or written classification of diseases. b) The study of diseases; the systematic investigation or classification of disease …   Wiktionary

  • nosology — The science of classification of diseases. SYN: nosonomy, nosotaxy. [noso + G. logos, study] psychiatric n. SYN: psychonosology. * * * no·sol·o·gy nō säl ə jē, zäl n …   Medical dictionary

  • nosology — study of diseases Sciences and Studies …   Phrontistery dictionary

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”