J Med Genet 36:737-738 doi:10.1136/jmg.36.10.737
  • Commentary

Closing time for CATCH22

  1. John Burn
  1. Department of Human Genetics, 19/20 Claremont Place, Newcastle upon Tyne NE2 4EE, UK

At a group meeting in early 1993 to discuss the final draft of our paper on 22q11 deletion in DiGeorge syndrome, I pointed out that the variable clinical features associated with the deletion could be embraced in the acronym CATCH22.1 The idea was endorsed by the then editor of the Journal of Medical Genetics and the term became even more prominent when Judith Hall chose it as the title for the associated editorial.2I had presented it by then to the David Smith meeting to general acclaim and it was not until we used it at the UK Clinical Genetics Society that the criticism surfaced that the term carried a negative connotation. In his original book, Heller used the term to describe the challenge whereby insanity was a basis for discharge from air combat but to request discharge was proof of sanity.3 The term became more widely used in some countries to denote a “no win” situation. Another criticism of the term, which I recognised …