The mind, body and spirit in psychodermatology: The legacy of George L Engel, MD (pp. 3-10)
Authors: Donald E Greydanus, Ruqiya S Tareen, and Joav Merrick
Abstract: Psychodermatology seeks to understand the intricate relationship between the skin and the mind. Dermatological disorders can induce considerable psychological burden in human beings and the central nervous system can induce cutaneous manifestations as well. Examples of this intricate dance between the ectoderm and the central nervous system are elucidated by a variety of articles in this journal issue. This editorial illustrates some of the medical history found in our current understanding of these psychodermatological disorders. In order to provide maximum benefit to those having these illustrated conditions, management must be provided with the legacy of the biopsychosocial principles of Professor George L Engel (1913-1999) from the University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, NY in United States.
“The dominant model of disease today is biomedical, and it leaves no room within this framework for the social, psychological, and behavioral dimensions of illness. A biopsychosocial model is proposed that provides a blueprint for research, a framework for teaching, and a design for action in the real world of health care”
(Professor George L Engel (1913-1999)"
Psychodermatology is a relatively new branch of medicine seeking to understand and manage the intricate relationship between the skin and the mind (1-4). It seeks to comprehend and ameliorate the global burden of skin disease in humans that is slowly, but inevitably being revealed by research in dermatology and psychiatry (5). Dermatology is going beyond dermatopathology and application of dermatological ointments, while psychiatry is going beyond the confines of the brain (6-9). Such an approach is certainly in the mind and spirit of professor George L Engel (1913-1999), professor of psychiatry at the University of Rochester Medical Center, who pioneered the concept of the biopsychosocial model of illness and healing (10, 11).
The intricate dance of the mind and the skin starts early during in utero life as the ectoderm and central nervous system develop and mature together which leads to each influencing the other throughout the life of the human being. Such a biopsychosocial cadence is beautifully illustrated in these articles on psychodermatology that various experts have written about in this issue of the journal.
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