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January 1958

A Consideration of Dermatologic Nomenclature

AMA Arch Derm. 1958;77(1):1-7. doi:10.1001/archderm.1958.01560010003001

One of the most difficult problems I have encountered both as teacher and editor has been the subject of dermatologic nomenclature. The subject is challenging and timely for there is at present acute and general dissatisfaction with much of the terminology now in use.

I have chosen to consider the subject today, not because I have a miraculous solution, but rather with the hope of stimulating much needed thought and discussion which should lead eventually to definitive action to simplify what a student recently characterized as "the overwhelming terminology."

Recently, Williams1 in his brilliant critique of dermatologic teaching stated that "there are 15,000 ways for a human being to be ill, and of these more than 400 dermatologic ones are listed in the `Standard Nomenclature of Disease and Operations,' not to mention the unlisted dermatoses which must number several times 400." The ter

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