Thoughts about “Countering Creeping Confusion”

by Richard Ratzan, M.D. Dr. Ratzan was a Classics major at Trinity College whose early publication as a medical student was on the Greek word for herpes (see reference # 8 in his attached letter). THE EDITOR kindly asked me to comment on an unusual paper suggesting we rename Herpes virus “Habita virus”, a paper imaginatively conceived, adroitly executed and very well written.[^1] In it, the authors evince four reasons to support their suggestion: lack of congruence between the etymological history of “herpes” and its dermatological appearance; sociological and psychological stigma; potential confusion concerning first the different herpetic diseases and second an unrelated virus, Hepeviridae, a virus associated with diseases … Continue reading

Countering Creeping Confusion: A Proposal to Re-Name Herpes Virus TAXONOMY

Curing Contagious Confusion:  It Is Time to Re-Name Herpesviridae Countering Creeping Confusion: A Proposal to Re-Name Herpes Virus TAXONOMY Vail Reese, MD1, Julie A. Croley, MD2, Richard F. Wagner, Jr., MD2 Affiliations: 1 Union Square Dermatology, San Francisco, CA Assistant Clinical Professor, UC San Francisco 2 University of Texas Medical Branch, Department of Dermatology, Galveston, TX Tags: Viral Taxonomy, Herpes Simplex, Herpes Zoster, Epstein-Barr Virus, Cytomegalovirus, Kaposi’s Sarcoma, HHV, HSV, EBV, Varicella, Habitavirus Corresponding Author Information: Julie Croley, MD University of Texas Medical Branch, Department of Dermatology 301 University Blvd, Galveston, TX 77555 Email: Note:  See Dr. Richard Ratzan’s letter about this article: Countering Herpes- A Commentary ABSTRACT : … Continue reading

A Doctor’s Responsibility

Doctors Helping Patients by James Channing Shaw, MD Keywords: Doctor’s Responsibility; Helping Patients; Hippocratic Oath; Physician Charter; Doctor-Patient relationship We diagnose, we treat. We try to do no harm. But what do we do when diagnoses evade us, or treatments fail? Do we physicians have an obligation to keep working with the patient after a diagnosis or cure eludes us? Some doctors might say no, that it’s perfectly acceptable to tell a patient “there’s nothing more I can do for you”; or discharge the patient without answers or directives, rationalizing that “I’ve done my part.” This especially applies to specialists. Patients, on the other hand, expect their doctors to keep … Continue reading

Making All Lives Matter in Medicine

by Michael O. Memsah, M.D. I was in medical school when I learned that I did not matter in medicine. One particular day on service started uneventfully. However, after the team’s discussion of a patient, all attention turned toward me when a senior physician asked me a question about the rap music that had been playing in the background. “Help me understand something:” I recall the physician saying. The physician asked about word choice in rap lyrics, and then, pretending to quote a rap song, repeated the word “nigger” several times in rapid-fire succession. So begins this important “Viewpoint” article in JAMA Internal Medicine.  Most of us will benefit from … Continue reading

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

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