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April 1955

Partial Albinism

Author Affiliations


From the Department of Dermatology, Minneapolis General Hospital (Carl W. Laymon, M.D., Chairman) and from the Department of Pediatrics (Richard B. Raile, M.D., Chairman).

AMA Arch Derm. 1955;71(4):468-470. doi:10.1001/archderm.1955.01540280044009

Partial albinism is inherited as a dominant Mendelian characteristic. It consists of patches of depigmentation and usually a white forelock. There is confusion about the disorder and its relation to vitiligo. Dermatologic texts discuss this clinical picture with universal albinism and fail to draw a clear distinction between the two. The latter is usually a recessive trait in which there is a melanin deficit in the retina, iris, and hair, in addition to the skin. There are frequently other associated congenital abnormalities in total albinism but not in partial albinism. Universal albinism is much more common than the partial variety. The term vitiligo should not be applied to partial albinism although microscopically they cannot be differentiated. The former is by definition an acquired depigmentation. Vitiliginous lesions have hyperpigmented borders and frequently change in size, features which are not present in piebaldism. In the literature there is a

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