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Dermatologists Relocate To The Sunniest Parts Of The U.S.

Dermatologists spend their days telling patients to avoid the sun and their careers striving to practice in it. They’re leaving the Midwest and mountain states to practice in the southern and western U.S.

To evaluate the migration patterns of dermatologists from residency to clinical practice, researchers reviewed data from the American Academy of Dermatology’s membership database. They looked at 7,067 dermatology residents who completed training before 2005 and were actively practicing in 2009. Results appeared at the September issue of the Archives of Dermatology.

Most graduates from Middle Atlantic and Pacific census divisions relocated Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at ACP Internist*

How To Get Rid Of That White Rash On Your Child’s Skin

It could be a common dry skin rash called pityriasis alba.

With pityriasis alba, the white patches of fine dry scale are usually located on the sides of the cheeks and the outer side of the upper arm. They’re more likely to occur when activities or weather conditions dry out the skin such as swimming in chlorinated pools or with the temperature extremes of a cold and dry winter. They also show up more when skin is tanned because the scaly patches stay white and contrast against the tanned skin. That means that towards the end of summer, they may well be in full bloom if you live in a dry climate.

What is pityriasis alba?

It’s a subtle form of eczema (also called dermatitis). It’s an unusual rash though because there really isn’t much, if any, inflammation. This means the involved skin doesn’t itch, it just looks funny. Most people mistake it for a fungus, which it isn’t. It’s just a form of dry skin eczema.

What treatments will help get rid of the white spots from pityriasis alba? Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Dr. Bailey's Skin Care Blog*

Could Your Swimming Pool Give You A Rash?

Allergic to Swimming? We’re in the dog days of August and summer continues to hold on. What better way is there to relax than in your nice, cool pool? Unless you’re allergic to it, of course.

I had a patient this summer who developed an itchy rash all over. He thought it might be due to his pool, but insisted that he kept it immaculately clean. Ironically, that might have been the trouble.

Some people are allergic to Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at The Dermatology Blog*

Why Are Humans So Drawn To Sunlight Despite Its Negative Consequences?

Sunny-beachIt doesn’t make sense: If sunlight causes cancer, why are human beings so drawn to it, flocking to sunny beaches for vacation time and hoping for sunshine after a rainy spell?

One answer, says David Fisher, chief of dermatology at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, may be that humans are literally addicted to sunshine so our skin can make vitamin D. New evidence suggests that we get the same kick out of being in the sun that we get from any addictive substance or behavior. It stimulates the so-called “pleasure center” in the brain and releases a rush of feel-good chemicals like endorphins.

So there may be more than a desire to look good in a tan behind the urge to soak up the sun’s rays. This craving may be a survival mechanism that evolved over thousands of years because humans need vitamin D to survive. Skin makes this crucial vitamin when it is exposed to sunlight. There isn’t much vitamin D in food (except in some of today’s fortified foods) so the human brain rewards us with a rush of pleasure when we seek out the sun and get vitamin D.

Seeking sunshine can be downright dangerous. As Fisher points out, Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Harvard Health Blog*

Aesthetic Surgery Journal Examines Nonablative Treatment Of Stretch Marks

Stretch marks (striae distensae) are common.  They represent linear dermal scars accompanied by epidermal atrophy.  Stretch marks aren’t a significant medical problem, but can be a source of significant emotional distress.

There are many treatments available, ranging from therapy applied to the skin, laser therapy, and even more invasive surgical methods. Unfortunately, stretch marks remain a tricky problem to target, in which no established treatment exists.

A recent article in the  May issue of the Aesthetic Surgery Journal (full reference below) discusses the use of fractional nonablative laser treatment for stretch marks.

Dr. Francesca de Angelis and colleagues conducted a clinical study involving 51 patients with striae, three male and 48 female,  who were treated between May 2007 to May 2008.  Several patients had striae on multiple areas of the body so a total of 79 striae locations were treated.

Patient ages ranged from 13 to 56 years (mean, 33 years). Fitzpatrick skin type ranged from II to IV. The duration of striae ranged from one to 40 years, with an average duration of 12 years. The striae formed as a result of pubertal growth (41%, n = 21), pregnancy (31%, n = 16), weight change (20%, n = 10), muscular atrophy (2%, n = one ), or unknown causes (6%, n = three).

Anatomical locations for treatment included the hips, breasts, abdomen, flanks, knees, buttocks, arms, thighs, and shoulders, with the majority of treatments occurring on the first three sites.

The stated objective of this study was to determine Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Suture for a Living*

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

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How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

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Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

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The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

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Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

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