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Anais Brasileiros de Dermatologia
On-line version ISSN 1806-4841
LEITE, Rubens Marcelo Souza; LEITE, Adriana Aragão Craveiro and COSTA, Izelda Maria Carvalho. Atopic dermatitis: a cutaneous or systemic disease? The search for answers in the history of Dermatology. An. Bras. Dermatol. [online]. 2007, vol.82, n.1, pp. 71-78. ISSN 1806-4841. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0365-05962007000100010.
Atopic dermatitis is an inflammatory disease associated to atopy, which is a predisposition to produce an IgE response to environmental allergens and considered one of the manifestations of the atopic diseases, including asthma and allergic rhinitis. Atopic dermatitis is characterized by recurrent eczema flares, associated to pruritus, affecting a genetically disrupted skin surface, inducing, by immunological phenomena, the onset of inflammation. It is a multifactorial disease, with an emphasis on systemic and allergic alterations or skin manifestations, according to different concepts. The definition of atopic dermatitis is important, since its management may vary according to these two different points of view. Modern authors have extensively discussed these concepts, though with no conclusion as to its nature - systemic or cutaneous disease. The search for concepts about the disease, since its first descriptions, associated to the evolution of the dermatology rationale through history, may help understand the origin of these doubts. A historical analysis demonstrates that the currently accepted concepts of atopic dermatitis have their background from different researchers, who, at different historical moments, described the disease, and a great part of our beliefs about atopic dermatitis are related to these ancient writings.
Keywords : Dermatitis, atopic; Disease Susceptibility; History of medicine.