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Bringing the US Biomedical Research Establishment into Equilibrium

Posted 22 April 2014 by Lowell Goldsmith - JID Jottings

The need is great, and the time is now. The recent PNAS article "Rescuing US biomedical research from its systemic flaws" should be studied and discussed by individuals, educational and research institutions, and scientific societies. There may be no more, or fewer, sacred cows in biomedical research -- and many oxen may be gored as well. The paragraph below is reprinted from an AAMC newsletter of April 17, 2014. Bruce Alberts, Marc Kirschner, Shirley Tilghman, and Harold Varmus describe specific... Read more

Cookie Monster Says “More Data!”

Posted 8 April 2014 by Lowell Goldsmith - JID Jottings

Sesame Street fans remember Cookie Monster saying ". . .Me want cookie!".  At the 72nd Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology in Denver,two of the plenary lectures that at first glance might seem to be coming from different poles of the expanding universe had an identical message:  Not "more cookies" . . . but  "MORE (and better) DATA!" Jack Resneck, Jr, MD of the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine addressed the need for more and... Read more

No Cell Sings Alone

Posted 1 April 2014 by Lowell Goldsmith - JID Jottings

An organism is  a chorus. Through an invisible song book its cells follow an omniscient conductor who directs them when to open their mouths and utter a note or a phase;  when the concert concludes, the effects suggest cosmic regulation. Ervin H. Epstein, Jr., MD and Anthony Eugene Oro, MD, PhD investigate how cells work and interact to make normal epithelial organs, such as skin and hair follicles: cells follow molecular conductors, pick up brief nuanced clues, nods, and signals,... Read more

Sex in Pot City

Posted 28 March 2014 by Lowell Goldsmith - JID Jottings

  How do you keep a few  thousand dermatologists in an auditorium at noon on a sunny day in Denver, the legal marijuana capital of America?   SEX. Sex and dermatologists have a long historical tradition of hanging out together. The  specialty included syphilology from its inception. This audience of international dermatologists heard  David C. Page, MD, director of the Whitehead Institute, professor of biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, elucidate how... Read more

Editors’ Picks from Experimental Dermatology

Posted 6 March 2014 by Lowell Goldsmith - JID Jottings

After a brief hiatus, we welcome back Editors' Picks from Experimental Dermatology.  Enjoy the latest discoveries!     Identification of HLA-E as susceptibility lucus of pemphigus vulgaris: One more step towards a genetic understanding of the disease Pemphigus vulgaris (PV) is a devastating and potentially life-threatening autoimmune skin blistering disease (AIBD). In PV autoantibodies directed against desmoglein 3 (Dsg) and, in some cases, Dsg 1, cause intraepidermal blister formation above the basal layer of keratinocytes (1). The availability of antibody-transfer... Read more

Sloth Skin: An Arborial Buffet

Posted 13 February 2014 by Lowell Goldsmith - JID Jottings

Calling someone a sloth (los peresosos, or "the lazies" in Spanish)  is not the way to begin a friendly conversation or a life-long friendship, although  these slow-moving animals are a source of constant wonder to biologists, ecologists -- and should be to skin researchers. This post aims to elevate the sloth  to the same level of respect as the zebrafish, knock-in and knock-out mouse, and the fruit fly.   Twenty percent of the body mass of the sloth is comprised... Read more

Scleroderma and Cancer: Is Anti-Tumor Immunity the Missing Link?

Posted 4 February 2014 by Lowell Goldsmith - JID Jottings

by Guest Blogger John Varga MD, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL Scleroderma, or systemic sclerosis, remains a mystery. The cause of this rare autoimmune disease is unknown, and genetics appears to play only a modest role. It has long been known that like dermatomyositis and other autoimmune disease, scleroderma coexists with cancer more often than would be expected. Could scleroderma in some cases arise as fallout from an anti-cancer immune response mounted against a nascent tumor? This is the provocative hypothesis... Read more

Fibromodulin: Linking blood vessels and skin pigment

Posted 28 January 2014 by Lowell Goldsmith - JID Jottings

by Guest Blogger Jack L. Arbiser, MD, PhD, Emory University School of Medicine   Links between pigmentation and angiogenesis have long been suspected but have not been formally proven. In the most recent issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation (JCI), the link between pigmentation and angiogenesis is explored in depth. Adini et al found that implantation of fibroblast growth factor in the avascular cornea of albino C57BL6 mice led to a much more vigorous angiogenic response than in the... Read more

Alopecia Areata Advancement Takes a Village

Posted 21 January 2014 by Lowell Goldsmith - JID Jottings

by Lowell A. Goldsmith, MD Advances in understanding alopecia areata (AA) and developing new treatments will "take a village". The inhabitants of the village, including patients with AA, met in Bethesda Maryland in November 2012. A synopsis of their deliberations and plans is available in the JID Symposium Proceedings of December 2013. The 79-page symposium encapsulates their diversity and their analytical and scientific approaches. In  the contemporary electronic era, the proceedings of a symposium in the old-fashioned print format is... Read more

Free Indoor Tanning: Easier Access to Cancer

Posted 14 January 2014 by Lowell Goldsmith - JID Jottings

By Guest Blogger Liza Engstrom, Masters of Public Health student in the Health Behavior program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (liza.engstrom11@gmail.com)   Imagine a gym or fitness center that offers free cigarettes to its patrons. The lobby has a basket positioned on a table in the entryway full of cigarette packs and lighters, with a sign that reads “Members Smoke Free!” Now imagine gym-goers who see that sign and think: “Wow, now I can take up... Read more