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The Men or Women Behind Nevi: Sophie Spitz

The Men or Women Behind Nevi: Sophie Spitz An eponym is a person or a thing after which a particular place, object, discovery, disease, syndrome, and so forth, is named. In the field of medicine, and especially in dermatology, many eponyms are used, and physicians often do not know who is the man or woman behind them. The woman behind “Spitz nevus” was a pathologist, Sophie Spitz,1 who first described this lesion in 1948 as juvenile melanoma or melanoma of childhood. Spitz, in fact, noticed that the cytologic characteristics of this nevus were identical to those of melanoma; nevertheless, the lesion’s behavior was, in general, benign. Spitz was born in 1910 in Nashville, Tennessee, in a German Jewish family. When she was young, she had a passion for music and especially for the violin. She got her medical degree at Vanderbilt University in 1932 and started working with Dr George Papanicolaou; 10 years later she married Arthur Allen, another pathologist. During her career, she became an expert in tropical medicine and in melanocytic nevi. Because she was affected by familial polyposis, in 1956 she experienced an untimely death from colon cancer, before her eponym was popular. Only after her death, in fact, did the discussion about the term and the real entity of Spitz nevus or juvenile melanoma start. Back to top Article Information Corresponding Author: Gianluca Nazzaro, MD, Department of Pathophysiology and Transplantation, Università degli Studi di Milano, Fondazione IRCCS Ca’ Granda Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, Milano Via Pace, 9 Milano, Italy (Gianluca.nazzaro@gmail.com). References 1. Spitz S. Melanomas of childhood. Am J Pathol. 1948;24(3):591-609.PubMedGoogle Scholar http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png JAMA Dermatology American Medical Association

The Men or Women Behind Nevi: Sophie Spitz

JAMA Dermatology , Volume 150 (1) – Jan 1, 2014

The Men or Women Behind Nevi: Sophie Spitz

Abstract

An eponym is a person or a thing after which a particular place, object, discovery, disease, syndrome, and so forth, is named. In the field of medicine, and especially in dermatology, many eponyms are used, and physicians often do not know who is the man or woman behind them. The woman behind “Spitz nevus” was a pathologist, Sophie Spitz,1 who first described this lesion in 1948 as juvenile melanoma or melanoma of childhood. Spitz, in fact, noticed that the cytologic...
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Publisher
American Medical Association
Copyright
Copyright © 2014 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved.
ISSN
2168-6068
eISSN
2168-6084
DOI
10.1001/jamadermatol.2013.8431
pmid
24430227
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

An eponym is a person or a thing after which a particular place, object, discovery, disease, syndrome, and so forth, is named. In the field of medicine, and especially in dermatology, many eponyms are used, and physicians often do not know who is the man or woman behind them. The woman behind “Spitz nevus” was a pathologist, Sophie Spitz,1 who first described this lesion in 1948 as juvenile melanoma or melanoma of childhood. Spitz, in fact, noticed that the cytologic characteristics of this nevus were identical to those of melanoma; nevertheless, the lesion’s behavior was, in general, benign. Spitz was born in 1910 in Nashville, Tennessee, in a German Jewish family. When she was young, she had a passion for music and especially for the violin. She got her medical degree at Vanderbilt University in 1932 and started working with Dr George Papanicolaou; 10 years later she married Arthur Allen, another pathologist. During her career, she became an expert in tropical medicine and in melanocytic nevi. Because she was affected by familial polyposis, in 1956 she experienced an untimely death from colon cancer, before her eponym was popular. Only after her death, in fact, did the discussion about the term and the real entity of Spitz nevus or juvenile melanoma start. Back to top Article Information Corresponding Author: Gianluca Nazzaro, MD, Department of Pathophysiology and Transplantation, Università degli Studi di Milano, Fondazione IRCCS Ca’ Granda Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, Milano Via Pace, 9 Milano, Italy (Gianluca.nazzaro@gmail.com). References 1. Spitz S. Melanomas of childhood. Am J Pathol. 1948;24(3):591-609.PubMedGoogle Scholar

Journal

JAMA DermatologyAmerican Medical Association

Published: Jan 1, 2014

References