History & Terminology

Piebaldism: rare but all dermatologists have heard this strange term during residency

Monday, February 16th, 2015




For one, this term is not originally from Latin and Greek, but from English and French: “Pie-” (french) = magpie (a bird) The french word has been adopted in the English. “-bald” comes from English (lack of hair) pie-bald = varriagated and partly coloured like a magpie. This term is also used to describe white […]

Pompholyx or Dysidrosis ?

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014




The Greek word of origin is: πομφολυξ = pompholyx = vesicle This term was given to what is now pemphigus by Robert Willan (a British physician, 1757-1817, the real founder of dermatology). Alibert (a French physician, 1766-1837) decided then to use this term for all bullous skin conditions originating from pemphix. This term will persist […]

Scabies: show me the mite !

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014




The cause of scabies was unknown and in the early decades of the 19th century, the mite being the cause of scabies were controversial. Simon François Renucci a Corsican medical student had seen native women remove mites from people with “the itch”; it amused him to see the professors of Paris in the dark. In […]

Koebner isomorphic phenomenon: the story behind the name

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014




The isomorphic phenomenon is the occurrence of the skin lesions in traumatized areas. This occurs in the following dermatoses: vitiligo, psoriasis, lichen planus, lichen nitidus, pityriasis rubra pilaris, and keratosis follicularis (Darier’s disease). It was described by Dr Heinrich Koebner (1838-1904) in 1876, a German dermatologist who trained in Paris and Vienna: he showed it […]

Syringoma: once you recognize the lesion, how do you remember to put the correct name ?

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014




This term comes from the Greek word: συριγξ = surinx = canal. The word is pronounced as ” surinx”. This origin is used in other medical fields (syringomyelia, syringobulbia, syringotomy) Information on Syringoma: Syringoma develop from the excretory lining of eccrine glands They are frequent benign tumors and affect more often females with familial forms. […]

Birt-Hogg-Dubé Syndrome

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014




Birt–Hogg–Dubé syndrome is a dermatological condition with a heightened risk of tumors in the kidneys and lungs. The condition is characterized by multiple benign dome-shaped tumors of the hair follicles (fibrofolliculomas), located on the face, neck and sometimes on the upper chest.Trichodiscomas and acrochordons are other lesions occuring with this syndrome Birt-Hogg-Dubé syndrome was described […]

Pustular Psoriasis: Who was Kogoj ?

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014




Pustular psoriasis exists in the generalized and localized types. Acrodermatitis continua of Hallopeau of acral psoriasis characterized by spongiform pustules* When examining pustules of psoriasis under the microscope, they appear as spongiform. This term was labelled in 1927 by Dr Franjo Kogoj (1894-1983), a Croatian dermatologist:”The pustule may be compared to a sponge” *These pustules […]

Incontinentia Pigmenti or Bloch-Sulzberger syndrome: who was Bloch ?

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014




Dr Bruno Bloch (1878-1933) was a Swiss dermatologist who created the dermatology department in Zurich. He described incontinentia pigment with the US Dermatologist, Dr Marion Sulzberger But he made his most valuable contribution in pigment research. Indeed he discovered that the synthesis of melanin was due to the action of an enzyme on the amino […]

Acrodermatitis Continua Suppurativa of Hallopeau: Who was Hallopeau ?

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014




Also known as dermatitis repens, acrodermatitis continua suppurativa is a acral pustular psoriasis considered as an uncommon type of pustular psoriasis. It was described by the French dermatologist Dr François Henri Hallopeau (1842-1919) described this condition in 1890 and named it then: Polydactylitis Continua Suppurativa (French: “polydactylie suppurative et continue”). Thereafter three particular forms were […]

Sarcoma, Sarcoidosis: the Story behind the Name

Friday, November 14th, 2014




The prefix comes from Greek: σαρξ = sarx = flesh The word “sarcoma” served initially to give a name to tumors which developed from the “conjunctive tissue” Later, the Hungarian-Born Austrian dermatologist Dr Moriz Kaposi (1837-1902) transformed the word sarcoma into sarcoidosis to designate still badly-defined cutaneous diseases. (Unrelated, his name was heard again in […]

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