Dermatology in Space

Dermatology in Space by Sara Malik Keywords: lunula, solar keratosis, satellite lesions, eponyms, linguistics, dermatology Space exploration has allowed us to traverse the universe and to gain insight into gravity, fluid dynamics, the solar system, and the evolution of planets. However, let us not forget the role that space has played in shaping our language, particularly that in dermatology. Dermatology contains several space eponyms, such as lunula, satellite lesions, and solar keratosis. These space eponyms provide information about an anatomical description, relative location and size, and the etiology of skin conditions. A brief definition and history on these space eponyms in dermatology is provided below. Lunula The term lunula comes … Continue reading

Henna: Multifaceted 

Henna: Multifaceted   by Sara Malik* Keywords: henna, hair, culture, plants, South Asia, contact dermatitis, dermatology Henna is a dye that is prepared from the plant Lawsonia inermis that has been used for centuries to dye skin, hair, fingernails, and fabrics and can be found in hot climates. Henna has many useful properties as a cooling agent and anti-bacterial herb. The antimicrobial activity of henna is attributed to the free hydroxyls that can combine with carbohydrates and proteins in the bacterial cell wall; the hydroxyls may attach to and inactivate the enzyme sites of the microbes.1 The art of henna is a widespread cultural practice in countries in North Africa … Continue reading

Uncomfortable in Our Skin: Confronting Colorism in Dermatology

by Jason Gomez Jason Gomez is a third-year medical student at Stanford School of Medicine and an MBA candidate at Stanford Graduate School of Business pursuing a career in Dermatology. Email: The first patient I saw as a third-year medical student on my dermatology elective requested skin lightening cream. She “hated” her dark skin, particularly the areas where her melasma left hyperpigmented patches. She wasn’t alone. Throughout my rotation, I witnessed to black, hispanic, and south Asian patients investing in skin whiteness. But I never had a white patient ask me for a product that would darken their skin. Even if one of them had, I’m not sure what … Continue reading

A Tribute to Dr. Joe

by David Williams* (Written before the Covid crisis.) I have just learned that a friend and co-worker has entered end-stage heart failure. He is an aged cardio-thoracic surgeon who left the facility that I work in a week ago. His name is Dr. Joe M. I knew he was ill and knew that he had a cardiac condition but I did not know how advanced it was and is. He must have known. If you have the chops to do heart transplants (“its mostly plumbing…”) you know how badly off you are. Towards the end of his tenure with us, he arrived early one morning panting and breathing heavily. His … Continue reading

Carola Eisenberg: A Lucky Life

Carola Eisenberg, M.D. (1917 -2021) Dr. Eisenberg, a psychiatrist, was born with a social conscience. She was descended from Jewish socialist refugees from Czarist Russia and was a native of Argentina, where by her account she was inspired to pursue psychiatry after visiting a mental hospital as a teenager with her father. One of our colleagues, the Mohs miscographic surgeon Dr. Jenny Stone, has warm memories from her student days at Harvard of Carola Eisenberg: “In September 1978, I was a nervous first year student at Harvard Medical School.  In the midst of a flurry of faculty-introductory speeches, one person stood out: Dr. Carola Eisenberg, our new dean of student … Continue reading


    There is nowhere Black people can go to not be inside a carceral gaze or at risk of experiencing police brutality. …And we, in healthcare, have to [start] building that sanctuary for folks as their human right. Rhea Boyd In her recent New England Journal Perspective essay, “Without Sanctuary”1 S. Michelle Ogunwole suggests that our hospitals and offices should be sanctuaries for our patients.  She writes: In quiet moments, I often reflect on how our society decides who deserves punishment and who deserves redemption. I think about grace, and how Black people get so little. I think about trust, and how Black people get so little. I think about … Continue reading

Bernard Lown (1921 – 2021)

Dr. Bernard Lown, the Harvard cardiologist who invented the first effective heart defibrillator and was one of a group of co-founders of an international organization that won the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize for its campaign against nuclear war, died on on February 16, 2021 at his home in Chestnut Hill, Mass. He was 99. If you are not familiar with Dr. Lown, the NY Times Obituary is a good place to begin. His book, “The Lost Art of Healing” (1996) was inspirational reading for me. Here are my notes if anyone wants to see them. Here are some excerpts from the Preface: Medicine’s profound crisis, I believe, is only partially … Continue reading

Living With Medicine: breathing in art # 1

by Hesam Noroozi* When my high school geology teacher saw his caricature in the hands of first-row students, I struck a deal with God: “Get through this, and I’ll never draw another caricature again!” As nobody mentioned the name of cartoonist to him I jumped out of that situation. God had accepted the deal! *************** Around the eighth semester of medical school I chose cartooning as my main hobby for the rest of my life. In the ensuing years, I have participated in solo and group cartoon exhibitions around the world, but except for one cartoon of Francois Hollande) President of France, 2012 – 2017) I haven’t drawn any more … Continue reading

H. Jack Geiger M.D.

A Doctor Who Fought Social Ills, Dies at 95 He used medicine to take on poverty, racism and the threat of nuclear destruction. I’ve heard about Jack Geiger for decades – but didn’t know what a picaresque life he led!  After reading his obit in the 12.29.20 NY Times, I can’t wait for the movie starring Harrison Ford to screen. Excerpts: NY Times Obit. Dr. H. Jack Geiger, who ran away to Harlem as a teenager and emerged a lifelong civil rights activist, helping to bring medical care and services to impoverished regions and to start two antiwar doctors groups that shared in Nobel Peace Prizes, died on Monday at … Continue reading

W.H. Auden on The Skin Microbiome

A New Year Greeting The poet, W.H. Auden, matriculated at Christ Church, Oxford in 1925 with a scholarship to study Biology. This poem should interest physicians, especially dermatologists. Had Auden become a biologist, think what the world might have lost! Osler quotes Lowell: “We reward the discoverer of an anaesthetic for the body and make him a member of all the societies, but him who finds a nepenthe for the soul we elect into the small Academy of the Immortals.’” (from John Keats: The Apothecary Poet, in The Alabama Student.) This poem was published in Scientific American in 1969 On this day tradition allots         to taking … Continue reading

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