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July 11, 1966


JAMA. 1966;197(2):140. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03110020128043

One of the most common derangements of human skin is the atrophic scar-like streaks called "vergetures" (whiplash marks) by the French, Dehnungs-Streiffen (stretch lines) by the Germans, and "striae" (short for striae distensae or atrophicae) by Anglo-Americans. Hardly a woman goes through pregnancy without developing striae, and striae gravidarum are permanent marks of childbearing. Other common causes of striae are rapid weight gain or rapid growing during adolescence. Striae were long considered true "stretch marks," and this view was supported by histologic observations first made in the 19th century, that elastic fibers break and disappear from the area of the striae.

A few dissenting voices pointed out that very prominent striae may develop in wasting illness such as tuberculosis or typhoid fever. It was suggested that in such cases the elastic fibers were damaged by toxic products of the disease. Later, Cushing's syndrome was found to be commonly associated with

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