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Aside from serving to scratch, pick, and claw and from being for trimming, filing, and shellacking or for growing to great lengths (as was done among the Mandarins of times gone by), human toenails and fingernails have not come in for much observation or study. They have many important medical aspects. Nails not only can harbor diseases and lesions of a remarkable variety, but also they can help clinicians and observers gain insights into important aspects of health and disease. I have noted that the eye may be the gateway to medical wisdom. The somewhat more opaque spectacle the nails contain of biological states and processes in human beings can add substantially to the understanding of health and disease. Sometimes this may be crucial to recognizing and treating diseases, both commonplace and rare. One would suppose that, as a subfacet of the body's terrain mapped out by dermatology, nails would
Bean WB. Nail Diseases in Internal Medicine. Arch Intern Med. 1976;136(11):1332. doi:10.1001/archinte.1976.03630110090028