From the perspective of 1984, the concept of diffuse collagen disease may not seem to be such a major advance. After all, rheumatology and clinical immunology are coming of age and assuming an important place in the spectrum of internal medicine, and the diseases that together form this category — today known as the connective tissue disorders or dyscollagenoses in the United States and systemic connectivitis abroad1 — provide the backbone of these two new specialties. But the holistic viewpoint that groups rheumatoid arthritis with systemic lupus erythematosus, perhaps with Sjögren's syndrome as a bridge, and encompasses progressive systemic sclerosis, polyarteritis nodosa, and variant forms of vasculitis, polymyositis and dermatomyositis, eosinophilic fasciitis, and some rare or disappearing disorders, including perhaps even rheumatic fever, reflects skills in the laboratory and a respectability that could not be claimed in 1942. Thus, the 47th annual meeting of the American Rheumatism Association, held in
Ehrlich GE. Diffuse Collagen Disease. JAMA. 1984;251(12):1595–1596. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03340360061033
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