Dermatology in practice - 2001


Comment: What’s in a word?
Neil Cox
pp 4-4
Like the flow of the tides altering the morphology of a shoreline, words and phrases with which we are familiar seem to gradually submerge and be replaced with new versions. This can of course be for eminently sensible reasons, appropriately reflecting things such as social or organisational changes. However, there seems to be an increasing acceleration of this process, more akin (to continue the tidal analogy) to the forces of winter storms than to gradual evolution.
The porphyrias – a practical guide for the dermatologist
Robert PE Sarkany
pp 6-9
For many doctors, the porphyrias are rare and obscure diseases whose main significance lies in their ability to bewilder medical students in exams. However, in reality, the porphyrias are not rare, and a simple practical approach to their management can avoid the pitfalls they pose to the unwary clinician.
Flexural rashes: a guide to differential diagnosis Part 2
Roopa Prasad and Andrew Y Finlay
pp 12-15
Rashes affecting the flexural areas are not unusual, but many common conditions may be altered in their appearance due to hyperhidrosis, maceration or friction. This article looks at neurofibromatosis, psoriasis, eczema and some rarities as causes of flexural rash.
Rosacea in practice
Alun Evans
pp 16-18
Rosacea was first described in the 14th century by the French physician Guy de Chauliac in his famous manuscript Chirurgia Magna. The condition is also mentioned in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales and Shakespeare’s Henry V. The 15th century painting The Old Man and his Grandson by Ghirlandaio, which now hangs in the Louvre, also depicts the classical clinical features. Management of the condition at this time centred around blood letting and the application of leeches to the affected areas. The term 'acne rosacea' has now fallen into disuse with the realisation that acne vulgaris and rosacea are two completely
Avoiding rubber contact for sensitive individuals
Angela Forsyth
pp 20-22
There is much in the literature about latex allergy and the dramatic effects that this can have on health. In addition to the latex component, rubber also contains processing chemicals which are capable of causing a dermatitis reaction in their own right. This dermatitis reaction is by no means life-threatening, but it can be dramatic in the effect it has on the life of the sufferer. Topical steroids do not completely suppress contact dermatitis reactions, and so avoidance of the allergen is the best form of treatment that is available at the present time.
Specialism versus generalism in dermatology
Nick J Levell
pp 28-30
‘Our opinion against the increase of specialism, especially against the narrow specialism of dermatology, is well known. Specialists can not as a rule be said to be among the best educated of the profession and the exclusive practice of some small speciality tends to perpetuate and increase ignorance, if it does not already deprave professional morals.’ This controversial piece from the Lancet in 1875 reflects attitudes that have sent waves rippling down the years, waves which still may affect some opinion leaders in medicine today.
Monk's moments: A rose by any other name ...
Barry Monk
pp 31-31
The 1950s were a golden age in medicine. The antibiotic era had seen the arrival of penicillin, erythromycin, streptomycin and isoniazid, all in the space of little over a decade, and with them the virtual eradication of many deadly infections. Viral disease appeared to be the last barrier, yet research into antiviral agents was unrewarding. Then in 1957, a young scientist, Dr Alick Isaacs, made the observation that certain cells, when infected with a virus, produce an agent that inhibits further viral infection. Could this perhaps be the long-sought ‘magic bullet’ against viral infections? But first, Isaacs pondered, what should the new material be called?