Dupuytren and Fear of the Unknown
Here’s a common Dupuytren script. A person finds something unexplained in their palm. They see a hand surgeon, who tells them
- “You have Dupuytren disease.”
- “There’s nothing to do now.”
- “Come back when you can’t put your palm flat on a tabletop.”
First, disappointment: the doctor did …nothing! (and charged for it)
Then, panic: they look up “Dupuytren” online, and… Boopuytren!
Panic: Look at those pictures! I’m going to be crippled! I won’t be able to work! I won’t be able to care for my family! I won’t be able to do things which give my life joy and meaning! This is called catastrophic thinking: fearing and focusing on the worst-case scenario as if it were the only scenario. The opposite of obsessing over how to spend lotto winnings before winners are announced. This is pretty common. It’s human nature. Maybe this happened to you. Maybe you stayed in panic mode a long time.
Why is Dupuytren scary? Because uncertainty about bad things is scary. Because not knowing how to prevent bad things is scary. What will happen? When? How bad? The thought of Dupuytren is scary because there’s no reliable way to predict it.
The good news is that it doesn’t have to be this way. We have the technologies to develop a Dupuytren blood test to predict Dupuytren. The point of a blood test is to be able to predict how medicines given now will affect Dupuytren progression years from now. To predict whether preventive treatments are likely to be effective.
We have the technologies. Crowdsourcing. Genomic analysis. Systems biology. Proteomic analysis. Artificial intelligence. It’s just a matter of doing it. And… that’s what the Dupuytren Research Group is doing right now. So, don’t get scared, get even. Make a difference. Let’s work together to take Dupuytren down.
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Charles Eaton MD
p.s. more good news: neither giving candy away nor eating candy provoke Dupuytren. Happy Halloween!