Rheumatic Rarities


Book Review by the Editor-in-chief of the KAUVERIAN, a book- buff!

Rheumatic Rarities

Editors: Dr. Sham Santhanam and Dr. Vinod Ravindran

It is not often that one gets to review a book edited by a colleague. Dr. Sham Santhanam is Consultant Rheumatologist at Kauvery Hospital, Chennai.

The book is a publication by the Indian College of Physicians, the academic wing of the Association of Physicians of India.

I am a Fellow of the Indian College of Physicians (FICP), 1996.

Dr. Sham has contributed to the Indian Journal of Rheumatology in various capacities and is currently its Associate Editor.

It is my fond hope that he would not only publish original work on Rheumatology from Kauvery Hospitals but also encourage his colleagues to publish their original work, in the KAUVERIAN as well as national and international journals.

He has a keen interest in the use of Biologics. They were the true and original ‘game changers”; they arrived and altered the prognosis and progress in rheumatology.

COVID-19 turned to Rheumatology to repurpose some of its drugs to address the troublesome inflammation in Covid. Tocilizumab and Baricitinib, just to mention two such drugs, found applications in the therapeutic armamentarium against COVID.

This publication has 19 authors drawn from across the country and from institutions of different culture – from academic centers to corporate hospitals.

The diseases addressed here are termed as relatively rare, but are probably rarely diagnosed due to lack of awareness. The eyes do not see what the mind does not know. Hopefully, this monograph would reach maturing doctors and make them aware of these diseases whose etiology and evolution shall challenge their knowledge and competence.

A quick glance at the contents -fifteen diseases- most of whose names are unfamiliar to the general physician, shall warn us that there are no easy answers to these problems. These are not diseases where “interventional procedures” work, and do not permit images to be posted in WhatsApp, Face Book, Instagram, You Tube, posters and case reports as “before and after!”.

They, as the editors state in their preface, call for intellect, intelligence, curiosity, keen observation, even keener deduction, meticulous planning and careful execution characteristic of a Sherlock Holmes, with his innate instinct to look out for unpleasant, potentially dangerous, surprises.

The classical summation of the case between Holmes and his alter-ego, Dr. Watson in the short story “A study in Scarlet” comes to mind:

Holmes: “Watson, then there was this curious incident about the dog in the night time’

Dr. Watson: “But the dog did nothing in the nigh time!”

Holmes: “That was the curious incident”

So, turn the pages, and start with Sarcoidosis, written by Dr. Sham Santhanam and Dr. Vinod Ravindran. Now, that is a strange disease in a middle- aged person you can easily miss in your practice, whether you are in pediatrics or pediatrics, cardiology or cosmetic surgery, until this granulomatous chronic inflammatory disease taps you on the shoulder and reminds you “Remember me?!”

Relish the chapter, turn the page and you fall headlong into the well of Amyloidosis, and come up for a breath!

Surely, you would climb out, eager to catch up and solve the 17 more puzzles that follow.

I guarantee you, negotiating this book is more exciting than being in a Virtual Reality Gaming station!

Dr. Venkita. S. Suresh