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January 1987

Hercules and Hydra

Author Affiliations

University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry Box 697 601 Elmwood Ave Rochester, NY 14642

Arch Dermatol. 1987;123(1):117-118. doi:10.1001/archderm.1987.01660250125034

Research has three kinds of results: things, ideas, and heartbreak. Things include the discovery of new atomic particles, the synthesis of a new drug, and the determination of a new agent that is effective in treating or preventing a disease (eg, azidothymidine for the treatment of the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). Results related to things are usually labor intensive, and expensive. Thing-related results are often evolutionary in nature, so a secondgeneration drug replaces the first-generation agent, or a social action replaces a treatment that has been successful for two centuries (eg, the elimination of smallpox vaccination). The heartbreaks of research are too painful to discuss further. New ideas often are not limited to a highly specific research setting and can have the profoundest impact. In a quest to understand the development of skin and alterations in epidermis in disease, we strayed far afield, and in a previous article in

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