It’s been difficult to miss the articles about the unfortunate young Memphis woman who is said to “grow nails from her hair follicles.”
Needless to say, this has caused quite a sensation for news outlets. Words like “mysterious illness” and “mutation” abound, and while I don’t mean to downplay her illness at all, I think that newspapers are taking this whole thing out of proportion (then again, don’t they always?).
This is a Langerhans cell. Langerhans cells are dendritic cells found in the epidermis (that is, the uppermost layer of the skin) and should not be confused with the Islets of Langerhans found in the Pancreas – and incidentally named after the same person. Langerhans cells are antigen-presenting cells – in other words, they form part of the body’s protection against antigens, and present these to the immune system. Continue reading “Cool Medical Students of History: Paul Langerhans”→
Stigma should not be seen as residing in an individual with a disease, but it resides in the society that has not found a way to be inclusive. We have a duty to diagnose and treat the stigma.
John Manton, The International Leprosy Association, 2007
Perhaps the first disease I knew of, thanks to my Illustrated Children’s Bible, was Leprosy. I was so afraid of losing my fingers and toes and being ostracized like the Lepers of Biblical times. I knew there was a cure though – knew this long before I learnt that TB medication was first used for leprosy.
Remember that episode in Grey’s Anatomy, where Christina, Meredith and Izzie discover “A Brave New World”, namely the Dermatology Department?
You know the one…
Yes, that one.
For the next two weeks, we get to discover Dermatology in a public South Afican hospital. And yes, it really is an oasis in the desert.
It is amazing. The doctors drag us away from presenting a patient to show us some or other interesting condition. They help is when we struggle with diagnoses. They tell us we can go home when our official time for the day is done.