Health Anxiety in Dermatology

Patients see doctors with varying degrees of concern regarding their health. While some require tests or treatments, a subset has severe health anxiety and cannot be reassured by tests, procedures, or pharmaceuticals but may be helped, at least temporarily, by a sympathetic listening face and reassurance. Hence, we designed a questionnaire to investigate health anxiety in patients recruited from a general dermatology clinic. The study was reported in the International Journal of Dermatology and can be accessed at this pdf: Health Anxiety in Dermatology

MUDS: In Search of Medically Unexplained Dermatological Symptoms

by David J. Elpern, M.D. Medically unexplained symptoms (MUS) are relatively well-known in the literature but not discussed in any dermatology journal. A recent book, Is It All In Your Head?: True Stories of Imaginary Illness, by by the neurologist Suzanne O”Sullivan is a readable and accessible resource. While studied in primary care, neurology and rheumatology, our PubMed review found no mention of medically unexplained symptoms in a major dermatology journal. Yet two surveys conducted in my office, each of of 100 consecutive dermatology clinic patients, found that ~ 20% had some form of MUDS. This rate is congruent with the estimated prevalence of MUS.  It appears that MUDS are … Continue reading

Spirituality in Dermatology

by Jorge Ramon and David J. Elpern This article was published in the July 2017 Archives of Dermatology Excerpts: Spirituality is difficult to define, but a recent consensus conference defined it as the aspect of humanity that refers to the way individuals seek and express meaning and purpose. Spirituality is understood by many as a means by which one copes with chronic or life threatening illnesses. While some people may not believe in a specific faith, many are interested in spirituality. Coming to grips with each individual patient’s spirituality requires a broad understanding of the person’s beliefs and values. Christina Puchalski’s FICA Spirituality History Tool1 can be a guide to … Continue reading

Towards Continuous ‘Medical’ Inspiration

by David J. Elpern, M.D. Abstract: Physicians waste too much time mired in our pedantic and mediocre professional literature. There is no way one can keep up with it and most of the articles are forgettable and sadly will prove to be inaccurate. It is better to spend time with the arts (literature, music, fine art, film) that are more important to one’s personal and professional development. They provide the Continuous Medical Inspiration that trumps Continuing Medical Education. Keywords: medical education, canon, personal canon, literature, fine art, music, William Osler, medical literature, CME Each week physicians and other caregivers peruse their professional literature.   We also gather regularly at Grand Rounds … Continue reading

Cry the Beloved Specialty

by A.R. Pito, FRCP(C) In the Entrepreneurship section of a recent NY Times there was an article with the title “Fat Freezing Helps Doctors Enhance Physiques, and Their Revenue.” Here are some excerpts: “Dermatology clinics and medical spas are increasingly offering a procedure called CoolSculpting to shrink love handles, flabby tummies and jiggly arms. Doctors’ offices are eager to offer the treatment because it represents a way to meet the fast-growing demand for fat-reduction services that don’t require surgery. It is also, they say, a way to get new types of customers in the door, including men.” “The spokeswoman for one dermatology spa in Arkansas was quoted as saying that … Continue reading

Isotretinoin on a Global Scale

In the end, we are dependent on creatures we have made. Goethe  Isotretinoin and iPledge  on the Global Stage by Ava Atri, B.A. and David J. Elpern, M.D. Keywords: isotretinoin, regulation, iPledge program, teratogen Introduction Isotretinoin has revolutionized the treatment of acne since it was approved by the U.S. Federal Drug Administration in 1982. Because it is teratogenic, some countries rigorously regulate its prescriptions.  In the United States, prescribers and patients must comply with the iPledge Program in order to write or fill isotretinoin prescriptions.1  A chance discussion with a colleague from Iran, where isotretinoin can now be purchased without a prescription, led us to survey a number of other … Continue reading

Dermatologists on Display

Dermatologists on Television: As the Public Sees Us By: Ajay Kailas Email: ajay.kailas@knights.ucf.edu University of Central Florida College of Medicine Keywords: dermatology, dermatologists, television, Seinfeld, Grey’s Anatomy, Television is an important medium of communication that allows millions to access unique viewpoints. How certain people or professions are portrayed can influence how the general public thinks about them. There are countless dermatologists in the world, who all have varied personalities, appearances, and practice styles. This begs the question, how are dermatologists portrayed on television? Grey’s Anatomy is a medical drama that centers around the lives of several competitive surgical residents at Seattle Grace Hospital. During an intensive day, one of the … Continue reading

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