<described> in the elderly at dusk or nightfall

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VicNicSor

Banned
Russian
-- "Sundown Syndrome -- a term for disorientation, agitation, a general worsening of mental symptoms classically described in the elderly at dusk or nightfall."
The Visit, movie

Is the word "described" used correctly here? It sounds weird, since it is modified by "at dusk and nightfall".

I would expect "showing itself" or so instead.

Thank you.
 
  • Einstein

    Senior Member
    UK, English
    Or "observed in the elderly etc." The observation does indeed take place at dusk and it's not a big step from there to say that also the describing might take place then (although it wouldn't be my first choice).
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    The classical description of this syndrome comes from the symptoms present in the elderly at dusk or nightfall: disorientation, agitation, a general worsening of mental symptoms.
     
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    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    To me, shows/observed/manifests/exhibited are all similar in this context, but "described" still seems a little off:)

    Thank you all!
    Those words are all true but the meaning of the sentence is different: it means that the “classical description of the syndrome” comes from the description of the symptoms shown/observed/manifested/exhibited by elderly... It is an unusual use of the concept of described, so it is not surprising that it sounds “off” to a non-native speaker.:)

    Here’s another example, with similar context
    The introduction of HAART in patients may be complicated by the Immune Reconstitution Inflammatory Syndrome (IRIS). This syndrome, first described in patients with tuberculosis, has been reported with every opportunistic infection as well as hepatitis B and C.
     
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    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    Then I don’t think you can say the first one sounds off (except perhaps in VE, which frequently seems different from BE and AE:D)
    The general form
    - described in patient population X
    where patient population X is either “patients with tuberculosis” or “the elderly at dusk or ightfall’. Totally parallel.
     
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    e2efour

    Senior Member
    UK English
    I think it's unfortunate phraseology.

    There is nothing wrong with using describing, but to associate it with a certain time certainly sounds odd. Try changing it to classically described in the elderly at five o'clock in the afternoon.

    I agree with Sparky Malarky's change in #3 (although I prefer manifesting itself (BE?)).

    A medical professional would perhaps not react to the original, but their concern would not be with stylistic variations.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    It’s an unremarkable structure/phraseology for describing a medical concept such as a syndrome - see #9 - perhaps less familiar to those outside that field. Don’t forget that the name of the one in the OP is “Sundowner syndrome” so it IS associated with their behaviour when the light gets poor. They display disorientation, agitation and a general worsening of mental symptoms at sundown (so the syndrome was first described as occurring in the elderly).

    AIDS was first described in the male homosexual community;

    The acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) was first described in homosexual males and intravenous drug users
     
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