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Alopecia areata: Hope for humans from helpful mice

Posted 27 August 2014 by Lowell Goldsmith - JID Jottings

Cytotoxic T cells (CD8+NKG2D+) produce cytokines that interfere with human hair follicles, producing hair loss. Alopecia areata (AA) has been known in man for centuries. An appropriate and spontaneous natural mouse genetic model for AA was discovered a few decades ago in mice at Bar Harbor Laboratories in Maine, and it has been incredibly useful, as documented in several publications in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology and other journals. The mouse model is especially important as new therapies for this... Read more

Editors’ Picks from Experimental Dermatology

Posted 1 August 2014 by Lowell Goldsmith - JID Jottings

The dark side of type XVII collagen Gostynski et al. identified a so far unrecognized function of type XVII collagen (COL17). Based on detailed clinical observations, the authors demonstrated that in human skin, melanocytes’ supply to the epidermis depends on COL17 expression (Gostynski et al, 2014). This striking discovery was found by the clinical observation of revertant skin in patients with epidermolysis bullosa (EB), characterized by genetic deficiency of type XVII collagen (COL17), laminin-332, or type VII collagen (COL7). In... Read more

Needle in the haystack studies: Getting the bug leads to effective treatment

Posted 19 June 2014 by Lowell Goldsmith - JID Jottings

Are there new pathogen-induced skin diseases that are not yet identified? If yes, how many such diseases might there be? And how to choose diseases for study, and what laboratory studies, intellectual analysis, and paradigms should be used to identify such diseases? Are there as yet undescribed pathogenic organisms?   If these questions resonate with you, please remember the past, of many organisms being proposed as the cause of morphea, psoriasis, and similar disorders, but not being proved. For the... Read more

7 Reasons to Start Your Free Subscription to the JID Connector

Posted 27 May 2014 by Lowell Goldsmith - JID Jottings

If you enjoy reading and ruminating about the posts on this blog, you will find the JID Connector, edited by Kavitha Reddy, MD, equally intriguing and useful. The Connector offers online-only articles of direct clinical relevance for the dermatology and skin biology communities. These features explain clinical research techniques and advances while discussing the impact on our understanding of diseases and patient care. Updates are available in a monthly e-newsletter. By subscribing to the newsletter, you can: Enhance your diagnostic skills... Read more

Wheat and WEIRD

Posted 21 May 2014 by Lowell Goldsmith - JID Jottings

Challenging scientific tasks frequently require large teams comprising diverse skills, a topic often discussed in this blog. Teams such as those for the Manhattan project commandeered talented brainboxes from a large variety of scientific backgrounds and cultures. Building and managing effective teams remains a challenge as depicted in the cartoon DILBERT. A commentary and an article in Science provide insights into the different ways individuals interact and think and how that may be influenced by the culture and environment in... Read more

Broadcasting Brain Waves

Posted 29 April 2014 by Lowell Goldsmith - JID Jottings

I grew up with Dick Tracy, and I always wanted a two-way radio watch. I have also had  patients who thought their brain waves were being monitored by governmental agencies. Now reality extends science and the paranoid ideas of unfortunate patients. In the April 4, 2014 issue of Science, Xu et al published an elegant article on making a wearable system of thin electronic modules in a highly visco-elastic polymer that adapts to and follows the changes in skin's movement,... Read more

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