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Einstein’s Grandchildren Revisit Space and Time

Posted 5 August 2015 by Lowell Goldsmith - JID Jottings

Our last post explored the international space station and its effect on mouse hair growth. Now we go 1400 light years further into space -- and the future -- to Kepler 452b, a time and distance trip, with  blogger Paul Kantor. Time travel and prediction of the future of mankind is a popular genre — Thomas More’s "Utopia" (1516), Jules Verne's "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea" (1864), and George Orwell’s "1984" (1949) are just a few of the science... Read more

Trip to Space Station Grows Hair on Male Mice

Posted 7 July 2015 by Lowell Goldsmith - JID Jottings

Some experiments are not easy to perform. Consider a recent publication reporting six mice sent to live 91 days on the international space station (ISS) while their control group was on earth. (Neutelings et al, 2015) Alas, one mouse did not survive lift off, and two others died during the mission. Do not criticize the investigators because of the small number of animals involved or the fact that they were all males. Instead, concentrate on the most interesting finding for... Read more

No Hair Works Alone—Hair Plucking and Growth

Posted 16 June 2015 by Lowell Goldsmith - JID Jottings

Plucking of mouse hair is often used in the laboratory to investigate the hair cycle and sometimes to remove the pelage covering the skin before applying chemicals, drugs, ultraviolet irradiation or other components of the experimental tool box. An article by a cross-disciplinary team composed of dermatologists, stem cell biologists, developmental biologists, immunologists, mathematical biologists, and tissue engineers have worked together from diverse regions including the US, Taiwan, People’s Republic of China, and the UK. The result is a stimulating... Read more

Editors’ Picks from Experimental Dermatology

Posted 11 June 2015 by Lowell Goldsmith - JID Jottings

Epidermal suction blister gene expression study suggests an influence of non pigmentary genes for the regulation of ethnic skin color   Differences in visible skin pigmentation are a major determinant of skin color associated with ethnic background. The initial goal of this study (Yin et al, 2014) performed on epidermal extracts from individuals of Caucasian, Asian, and African ancestry, was to identify differentially expressed genes with a special focus on known pigment-related genes. However, only a few of them were... Read more

Wringing Warts Till They Blister

Posted 9 June 2015 by Lowell Goldsmith - JID Jottings

For over two thousand years blistering beetles and their extracts have been used to remove noxious, noisome, persistent warts from skin. Research through 1960 (yes, before many of us were born), before keratinocyte culture, before PCR, before demonstrating autoantibodies in Pemphigus and Pemphigoid, was reviewed and worth a read, since it may yield clues pertinent even today (Bagatell & Stoughton, 1964). Fast forward to last month. At the Society for Investigative Dermatology meeting in Atlanta in May 2015, Li et... Read more

Disney Is Correct: It Is a Small World for . . . Investigating Psoriasis

Posted 3 June 2015 by Lowell Goldsmith - JID Jottings

Christopher Griffiths, Head of Dermatology at the University of Manchester in the UK gave the plenary Eugene Farber lecture on "The Natural History of Psoriasis" at the Society for Investigative Dermatology annual meeting on May 7, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia. I was stimulated in many dimensions:  by the excellent research and presentation style, the wonderful use of the King's/Queen's English, and the incredible organization of the UK Dermatology enterprise in generating and sharing data. The English dermatologists have developed nationwide... Read more

Reflectance Confocal Microscopy: An Elegant, Revolutionary Technique with Boundless Possibilities

Posted 14 May 2015 by Lowell Goldsmith - JID Jottings

by guest blogger Joshua Davyd Fox, University of Miami, MD class of 2016   At the 2015 American Academy of Dermatology Annual Meeting, I serendipitously discovered Reflectance Confocal Microscopy (RCM). I sat mesmerized, watching the presenters quickly flip through black-and-white mosaic images of in vivo skin at microscopic resolution in what may best be described as a fusion between radiology and dermatology. As a fly in a room filled with experts of a drastically underutilized technology, I felt as though... Read more

March is Mitochondria Month for Melanoma and Hair—A Trifecta

Posted 18 March 2015 by Lowell Goldsmith - JID Jottings

Without energy, metabolism collapses; aerobic metabolism in eukaryotes requires mitochondria. In medical school, in ancient days, our study rooms displayed large charts explaining the Krebs mitochondrial tricarboxylic acid cycle, like religious icons to be venerated . I was  imprinted with the importance of those "good & plenty"- appearing  mitochondrial organelles, and this month I am reminded of them by a trio of publications.   First was the triparental egg conceived in Great Britain (sorry for the pun) as treatment for a... Read more

Eyelash Physiology and Extensions

Posted 11 March 2015 by Lowell Goldsmith - JID Jottings

I must  confess I do not read the Journal of the Royal Society Interface regularly, but luckily, the ECONOMIST devoted two thirds of a page to describing how eyelashes work. Eyelashes were last discussed in this blog on Oct 29, 2013, showing a dogged  persistence and perseveration about this skin appendage, which is often relegated solely  to the cosmetic domain. The basic finding in the study is that the average length of the eye lashes is about one  third of... Read more

Go to College, Get a Tan, Get Melanoma (For the Lucky Ones: You Can Look Like 50 at Age 30)

Posted 29 January 2015 by Lowell Goldsmith - JID Jottings

In the university town where I live, several of the apartment complexes, where many of the students rent, provide free access to tanning beds. Wow . . . it takes a long while for the RISK/benefits of tanning to reach students. In the Jan 14, 2014 post, Guest Blogger Liza Engstrom discussed exercise clubs in our community providing tanning as an extra membership benefit .   Now, a University of North Carolina junior, Alaina Zeitany, who is majoring in nutrition,... Read more