FOR A LONG time it has been evident that certain descriptive designations of clinical dermatology lacked scientific specificity. To those who write case reports and who demonstrate patients, the difficulty of painting a picture with words is only too painfully familiar. The deficiencies of the everyday vocabulary in this respect are present to a most glaring degree in attempts to describe color. The color of normal skin may not present too great a difficulty (fig. 1). The description of skin lesions, however, causes the greatest difficulty. In demonstrating this phase of morphologic description to students it is probably a common exercise of demonstrators to point to a lesion and ask those present to describe its color. Here is an example of the answers obtained in such an exercise with fourth year medical students: "reddish brown," "dark red," "rusty red," "red" (2), "brown," "copper" and "tomato red." Probably everyone teaching
APPEL B. DECADENT DESCRIPTIONS IN DERMATOLOGY. Arch Derm Syphilol. 1950;62(3):370–379. doi:https://doi.org/10.1001/archderm.1950.01530160022003
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