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October 1992

Questions and Answers

Arch Dermatol. 1992;128(10):1387. doi:10.1001/archderm.1992.01680200097015

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


We have decided to introduce our Questions and Answers section for the Archives with a question: "Why?" Our response is simple: "Because it should prove useful to readers." Although proof for this assertion is lacking, we have well-reasoned ideas, and they begin with how we all practice medicine.

To provide medical care, each physician will integrate a relatively large amount of information that is derived from three sources: physical examinations, laboratory studies, and history. This integration process takes into account the physician's own personal experience and medical knowledge that is derived from textbooks and "the literature." Ultimately, a differential diagnosis is developed and a program of further diagnostic studies and treatment developed. Despite heroic efforts, however, each physician's personal knowledge base remains considerably smaller than that contained in the literature, a problem that is certainly not new and certainly not helped by the relentless accumulation of new information, year after

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