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Book and Media Reviews
January 12, 2011

Dermatological Signs of Internal Disease

JAMA. 2011;305(2):200. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.1978

Skin disease is common, and an accurate diagnosis can be vexing and elusive, especially for nondermatologists. Stakes can be high: skin disease may be confined to the integument, where it can be a source of patient discomfort, embarrassment, and despair, or it may be a clinical clue to an underlying systemic, potentially life-threatening condition.

With this in mind, the fourth edition of Dermatological Signs of Internal Disease is an important addition to professional and personal libraries. Edited by nationally and internationally renowned experts Jeffrey Callen, Joseph Jorizzo, Jean Bolognia, Warren Piette, and John Zone, this book delivers on its promise to provide comprehensive yet practical information on both the common and the rare, and it is replete with more than 500 high-quality color images that enhance its effectiveness and appeal. In addition to concise, well-written chapters pertaining to what readers might expect—cutaneous signs of infection (including human immunodeficiency virus [HIV]), malignancy, collagen vascular diseases, sarcoid, and certain endocrinopathies—several chapters discuss diseases that many readers may think of as primary integument disorders (eg, hair, nail, and bullous disorders; psoriasis) but that in fact are sometimes seen with internal diseases. The book also contains information regarding the potential significance of information that many casual, uninformed observers might think of as relatively innocuous or not noteworthy but that may in fact be quite important, such as the potential relationship between a diagonal ear crease, male pattern baldness, or excess truncal hair and coronary artery disease.