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"Speaking of Vitiligo..."

Vitiligo Clinic Patients Frequently ask - “Why did this happen?”

June 19, 2014

John E. Harris, MD, PhDThere is no simple answer to this question for a number of reasons, partly because of our still limited knowledge of the disease, and partly because different patients often mean different things by this question. For example, some want to know why them and not someone else, some are asking why this happens to anyone, others want to know the details of how it works, many want to know if they could have done something differently to avoid it, and still others want to know the chances that their children or other family members will also get it. My more inquisitive patients want to know the answers to all of these questions. 

I often regret that there is not enough time in a clinic appointment to answer all of the questions, whereas in rare cases when time is not a factor I could talk for hours on these topics. Additionally, there is a LOT of information available on the internet, and while much of it is helpful, some of it is not, and often my patients acquire misinformation when they’re left to wade through it without guidance. Thus, I started this blog on vitiligo. My goal here is to answer these questions to the best of my ability, which I expect will take many entries, and also to answer additional questions as they arise. Our understanding of vitiligo is actively changing as we (“we” in the global sense, scientists all over the world) seek to understand the disease through active research, and so my goal will be to update the discussion as new information comes to light.

Because I am both a physician (dermatologist who specializes in vitiligo) and a scientist (who does research in vitiligo), I will address both of these aspects of disease, and readers can choose to follow either or both topics. The entries will be tagged with keywords and easily searchable, so that readers can find relevant posts in the archives. I plan to invite others from around the world to comment on these issues as well, particularly to communicate their expertise when appropriate. I also invite your thoughts and comments, first so that I can expand the discussion to answer your questions, but also to gain insight into the disease through your experiences as those who suffer from vitiligo. It may be that the next big breakthrough will come directly from your own insight into vitiligo!

Thanks for taking the time to read my thoughts, and I look forward to many more to come.