Diagnosis & Disease Information

Jackson Whites: Albinism and Piebaldness

Jackson Whites: Albinism, Piebaldness, and the Legendary People of the Ramapo Mountains

Jackson Whites is a pejorative term for a group of people who have been living for centuries in the beautiful and remote Ramapo Valley, a breathtaking section of the Ramapo Mountains that crosses the New York/New Jersey border at Suffern, NY. Many believe this name is short for Jacks and whites, with Jacks purportedly having been slang for runaway slaves; however, this is just one of many currently unprovable myths regarding this population. The group has mainly a Native American, African American, and Caucasian heritage. They prefer to use the Dutch spelling to describe themselves as the Ramapough Mountain Indians; they also go by the name of Lenape Nation. There is little documentation of their over 300-year history in the area, largely because the Lenape people had no written language.

Powerful Anti-Smoking Campaign Focuses on Teens

Powerful Anti-Smoking Campaign Focuses on Teens

Targeting teens is nothing new for the tobacco industry. They know the statistics for hooking lifelong smokers. Twelve to 17 year olds are at the highest risk of starting smoking. Marketing to America’s youth has been prevalent since the 1920s. Just because Joe Camel has gone away doesn’t mean these clever marketers have.

The US Food and Drug Administration is fighting back. The FDA has made a commitment through their latest anti-smoking advertising campaign to make an impact on teenage smoking. The new ads are meant to be graphic and powerful to drive the message home. One ad has a young man pulling out his own tooth to pay for cigarettes. Another has a young lady leaving behind a piece of her flesh.

Blue Man Paul Karason

Blue Man Paul Karason Dies at 62

Until his death in 2013,  Paul Karason garnered attention from the media as the notorious blue man. However, Karason did not become famous on purpose. His trademark blue skin was the result of an alternative medical treatment he used to reduce the symptoms of dermatitis 15 years before he died. Although this treatment is known to be harmful, it did not cause his death, according to Fox News.

Xeroderma Pigmentosum

Michael Jackson’s Skin Condition

In the years before his death, several theories swirled around Michael Jacksons skin. Jacksons skin had been medium-brown in color since he was a child, but the pop superstars skin became noticeably lighter during the 1980s.

In his 1991 book Michael Jackson: The Magic and the Madness, biographer J. Randy Taraborrelli accused Jackson of bleaching his skin to appear whiter. Taraborrelli does write that a doctor had diagnosed Jackson with vitiligo in the 1980s, but insists that the condition was the result of skin-bleaching chemicals rather than heredity.

Topical Testosterone

Topical Testosterone Therapy Enhances Quality of Life for Older Men

Testosterone gives a man many of his male characteristics: big and strong muscles, a healthy sexual appetite, high energy levels, etc. But sagging testosterone levels cause a variety of symptoms that can reduce the quality of life for many older men. Testosterone therapy raises hormone levels to therapeutic levels to relieve these symptoms and restore quality of life. Topical testosterone, which is applied to the skin rather than taken internally, is one of the easiest and most common modes of delivery.

Testosterone production declines naturally in the aging male body. The Cleveland Clinic says that 20% of men older than 60 years and 30% to 40% of those over 80 years have lower testosterone levels than younger men. Some medical disorders, such as stressful illnesses, surgery, heart attack, and cancer, can hasten this process and cause more serious testosterone deficiencies in some men.

A Genetic Variation That Could Protect Skin From Sun Damage Fuels Testicular Cancer

A Genetic Variation That Could Protect Skin From Sun Damage Fuels Testicular Cancer

A Ludwig Cancer Research study published in Cell today identifies a common mutation that dramatically increases the risk for testicular cancer—and describes a likely molecular mechanism by which it exerts that effect. The researchers also suggest why, despite its potential lethality, the genetic variation has been favored by natural selection to become common in light-skinned people. It appears this mutation might aid the tanning of Caucasian skin in response to sunlight, protecting it from UV radiation, which can burn and cause cancer.

Preventing Skin Cancer in Children

Preventing Skin Cancer in Children Begins with the Right Sunscreen

It is well known that exposure to the sun is the key risk factor for developing skin cancer. And while most parents are aware that applying sunscreen to their children is important, many go wrong by not taking the time to choose the most effective sunscreen, or they don’t understand the limitations of sunscreen.

Recessive Dystrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa

Recessive Dystrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa

Dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa (DEB) is a group of rare inherited diseases that cause skin fragility and blistering. A recent classification includes 3 subtypes: severe generalized recessive DEB (RDEB-sev gen), generalized other recessive DEB (RDEB-O), and dominant DEB (DDEB). DEB occurs because of a type VII collagen defect in the anchoring fibrils in the epidermal-dermal junction (in the lamina densa of the cutaneous basement membrane). Both the recessive and dominant variants stem from a mutation in the type VII collagen gene COL7A1. The recessive variant, RDEB-sev gen, is perhaps the most catastrophic and tragic. There is some literature that indicates an occasional de novo mutation, but generally it is inherited.



The name porphyria is taken from the Greek root for purple (porphyra). Porphyrias are a group of 8 inherited or acquired disorders of heme biosynthesis. A deficiency in any of the 8 enzymes in the biosynthetic pathway can result in the accumulation and excretion of intermediary metabolites. Patients generally present with either neurovisceral (acute) or cutaneous symptoms but sometimes they may have mixed symptoms. One of the earliest descriptions of porphyria was made by B.J. Stokvis, MD, in 1889. In 1930, the German chemist Hans Fischer described porphyrins as The compounds which make grass green and blood red. In 1937, Jan Gosata Walenstrom coined the term porphyria he published research identifying one type of porphyria, acute intermittent porphyria (AIP). By 1960, all 8 types of porphyria had been described, as well as environmental factors that affect the course of the disease.  Porphyria research in the 1980s and 1990s identified the molecular defects in each type.

Dr. Michael Rosin

Michael Rosin

Here is the story of a doctor who lost his moral compass.

Dr. Michael A. Rosin was a well-respected community member, family man, and dermatologist in Sarasota, Florida. He specialized in Mohs micrographic surgery, which is a technique that excises skin cancer via removal of multiple thin layers of skin.

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