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January 1990

Psychosomatic Dermatology: Is It Relevant?

Author Affiliations

Department of Psychiatry; Department of Dermatology University of Michigan Medical Center 1500 E Medical Center Dr Ann Arbor, MI 48109-0704

Arch Dermatol. 1990;126(1):90-93. doi:10.1001/archderm.1990.01670250096016

It has long been recognized that psychosomatic factors play a role in dermatologic disease.1 The past four decades have seen a marked progress in the understanding of the biologic basis of psychopathology and in the development of pharmacologic treatments for mental disorders. However, at present, psychosomatic dermatology is, at best, on the fringes of mainstream clinical dermatology. Do dermatologists need to familiarize themselves with psychiatric principles along with the principles of general internal medicine? How clinically relevant is the relation between the psyche and the skin? The following perspectives on some interfaces between psychiatry and dermatology may shed light on these questions.

PSYCHONEUROIMMUNOLOGIC INTERRELATIONSHIPS  There is evidence that central nervous system (CNS) processes modulate immune function and that the immune system in turn provides feedback to the brain.2-5 Some of the many findings2-5 that support the preceding statement include the following: hypothalamic lesions affect immune function; the

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