Dercum's Disease (Dercum Disease, Adiposis Dolorosa)
Articles available HERE!
We have collected a number of Dercum articles, and have made them available on this
site. They are:
(please be patient - it's a long article with lots of pictures and takes time
Original article in Swedish.
A Pain in the Groin - This article is
of great interest because it is the story of an older woman with a history of Dercum's
Disease who goes to her doctor with a pain in her groin. They end up doing a
hysterectomy and other stuff, and the pain did not go away. Finally, after some
months, as the pain got worse, the doctors were able to convince the women to go back into
surgery (she was not keen on it, since the previous surgeries did not solve the problem)
and they finally operated on her again and took out a sizable lipoma.
- Overview Article This article, by Håkan Brorson and Birger
Fagher, is a good description and overview of the disease.
Maureen has talked to a lady who had a similar pain, and the doctor took out her appendix
to relieve the pain. He took out the wrong thing. Again, it was a Dercum's
lipoma. [ Reference #54] This article is also courtesy of The Lancet.
Lethal infection by a previously
unrecognised metazoan parasite - 1996 - This article was written by a number of
doctors in the San Francisco/San Jose area. The summary states:
"An HIV-infected man developed a rapidly-enlarging abdominal
mass, suggestive of a neoplasm, that subsequently invaded his liver and caused death.
Initial studies showed unusual tissue morphology that could not be matched with any known
Sort of sounds like the Dercum's tumors, but who knows? The Lancet
has kindly given us permission to post their article, so click on the link, read the
article, and see what you think.
On 03/12/2002 Dr Peter D Olson (P.Olson@nhm.ac.uk)
of London, UK, made this comment (in the guestbook) on the article:
"As one of the authors of the Lancet article featured on your site ("Lethal
infection..."), I can assure you that this case simply does not speak Dercum's
disease--as the data showed in the article, the pathology was a result of an infection
with a larval tapeworm which we have subsequently determined to be Hymenolepis nana, the
common dwarf tapeworm. Please don't confuse the issue further by ignoring the evidence of
It may not speak of Dercum's disease, but it is
interesting to see that a parasite caused a lethal tumor. Since medical research
doesn't have a clue at to what causes Dercum's, one possible hypothesis is that Dercum's
might be caused by a parasite (or a virus or a bacterium). Has anyone ever minutely
dissected a Dercum's disease tumor looking for such things? Usually it is dismissed
as a common fatty lipoma, and relegated to the trash. Note that another article (see
#57 abstract) indicates that the Dercum's fat has different characteristics than
"normal" fat. Hmmm.
Fat Cell Article - 1991 - This article
was written by Drs. Fagher, Monti, Nilsson-Ehle and Åkesson (Dr. Fagher is the co-author
of the overview article above). This highlights the different characteristics of
Dercum's fat from "normal" fat. You can wave this in
your doctor's face and tell him not all fat is the same!!! ;-)
The Nervous System and Adipose Tissue -
1989 - This is a very informative article about the characteristics of adipose tissue.
Greenbaum Article - 1991 - This article
was written by Drs. Greenbaum and Varga and highlight a case of Dercum's that was CAUSED
Spreading a New Idea on
Disease - 1999 - This was an article, by Thomas H. Maugh II, that appeared in the
Los Angeles Times (that someone else put on their website). It discusses the
possibility that viruses, bacteria and nanobacteria might be responsible for
diseases not previously linked to such agents. Interesting reading.
First Dercum Article - 1888 - This was the article that Dr. Dercum wrote described the
symptoms without naming the disease.
Article naming Adiposis Dolorosa - 1892 - This
is the article that described three cases of the disease and gave the disease its name (or
at least one of them).
In researching this topic, I have found that very few of the
articles are available on the web. Medline is a source of references, but only a few
of the articles even have an abstract or a summary of what the article is about.
Aside from the ones mentioneed above, here is one located elsewhere:
Brenner, Sarah, and Yael Politi. "Dermatologic Diseases and
Problems of Women throughout the Life Cycle," International Journal of Dermatology
34, no. 6 (June 1995): 369-379.
If you read the section on Dercum's Disease (Adiposis Dolorosa), which
is almost at the end of the article, you would think that the authors would be able to
answer some questions about the disease. Maureen tried calling Dr. Brenner several
times, and was finally told that the only way to contact her send a fax. So Maureen
send a several page fax, and got a reply. Here is the
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Last Modified on
November 18, 2003
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