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David Geffen School of Medicine

In His Own Words: Erno S. Daniel, MD ’75 (RES ’78), PhD

  Dr. Erno S. Daniel with patient

Dr. Erno S. Daniel (left) with a patient at Sansum Clinic reviewing an electronic health record.
Photo: Courtesy of Sansum Clinic

After completing his residency in medicine, Erno S. Daniel, MD ’75 (RES ’78), PhD, became one of the first physicians in the United States to receive certification of added qualifications in geriatrics. His interest in the topic of how diagnoses are made or missed, especially in the area of hidden infections, led him to write both for scientific medical journals and for public readership. He practices full-time at the Sansum Clinic in Santa Barbara, California, where he also writes about the history of California medicine pertaining to the region of Santa Barbara.

After seven great years of medical school and internal-medicine residency at UCLA, I entered practice at Sansum Clinic in Santa Barbara. With a strong academic background — I earned my bachelor’s degree from the California Institute of Technology and my PhD in magnetic resonance imaging from UC San Diego — I continued writing and teaching. With the support of the late Dr. David H. Solomon, I was one of the first physicians in the U.S. to be certified in geriatric medicine. I also was credentialed in vascular ultrasound and was lead author of a landmark article on the Cronkhite- Canada syndrome with the late Dr. Arthur Schwabe, former chief of the Division of Gastroenterology at UCLA.

Once in Santa Barbara, I published on geriatric topics including Alzheimer’s disease, produced the Senior Forum cable-TV program, was medical columnist for the Santa Barbara News Press, directed long-term care facilities and taught geriatric medicine to thousands of colleagues via continuing medical education programs in the U.S. and abroad and as an attending physician in Saudi Arabia. I wrote about medical history in Santa Barbara, with the help of my wife, Martha Peaslee Daniel, RN, whom I met at UCLA.

I became increasingly interested in the issue of how diagnoses are made or missed and how to improve accuracy. I took a special interest in “stealth” infections, such as H. pylori and HPV, whose role in morbidity and mortality was overlooked and misdiagnosed for most of the 20th century. Realizing there may be many other such infections, I wrote the book Stealth Germs in Your Body for general readership in 2008. The book begins with the story of six patients I treated who were diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, chronic fatigue, sensitive stomach, eczema and symptomatic endometriosis. Each patient turned out to have an underlying infectious condition that was treated, causing resolution of their long-standing symptoms. Continuing in full-time practice, I enjoy the challenge of being a diagnostician, evaluating complex cases and finding remedies for some patients who were told they had incurable chronic conditions.

It meant a great deal to me to return to the UCLA campus in September 2014 as a guest lecturer on “How Diagnoses Are Made or Missed and the Challenge of Stealth Germs.” The UCLA Medical Alumni Association sponsored the event as part of its Speakers Series.

To read more about Dr. Daniel’s research, visit: stealthgerms.com.


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