Gene may open door for improved keloid, scar treatment
Researchers at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit have identified a gene that may offer a better understanding of how keloid scars develop and potentially open the door to improved treatment for the often painful, itchy and tender scars.
The study is the first to demonstrate that an altered AHNAK gene may have a significant biological role in keloid development.
“This finding has great promise for better understanding how keloids function and offer a potential target for improved and novel treatments,” says study lead author Lamont R. Jones, M.D., Vice Chair, Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at Henry Ford.
“We now have a better understanding of how this gene fits in the broader picture of the wound healing process, which may be important in preventing scars in general.”
Men, boomers fuel growth in spa industry
The spa industry is booming, particularly in China and India, as more men and aging boomers seek pain relief as well as relaxing and luxury treatments, including $1,250 facials.
Massage is still the most popular request, but people with deep pockets can opt for pricier treatments such as the ultra-expensive facial from New York skincare expert Dangene, who is booked months in advance.
Treatments ranging from plasma therapy, in which a patient’s platelet-rich plasma is extracted from their blood and injected into wrinkles, and infrared saunas to oxygen therapy and salt rooms are also giving a boost to the $250 billion industry.
Stick-on tattoos go electric
Through a combination of careful theoretical modeling and precise micro-manufacturing, a team of engineers and scientists has developed a new type of ultra-thin, self-adhesive electronics device that can effectively measure data about the human heart, brain waves and muscle activity – all without the use of bulky equipment, conductive fluids, or glues.
The researchers have created a new class of micro-electronics with a technology that they call an epidermal electronic system (EES). They have incorporated miniature sensors, light-emitting diodes, tiny transmitters and receivers, and networks of carefully crafted wire filaments into their initial designs.
The technology is presented - along with initial measurements that researchers captured using the EES - in a paper by lead author Dae-Hyeong Kim of the University of Illinois and colleagues in the August 12, 2011, issue of Science.
Cell binding discovery brings hope to those with skin and heart problems
A University of Manchester scientist has revealed the mechanism that binds skin cells tightly together, which he believes will lead to new treatments for painful and debilitating skin diseases and also lethal heart defects.
Professor David Garrod, in the Faculty of Life Sciences, has found that the glue molecules bind only to similar glue molecules on other cells, making a very tough, resilient structure. Further investigation on why the molecules bind so specifically could lead to the development of clinical applications.
Professor Garrod, whose Medical Research Council-funded work is paper of the week in the Journal of Biological Chemistry (JBC) tomorrow (Friday), said: “Our skin is made up of three different layers, the outermost of which is the epidermis. This layer is only about 1/10th of a millimetre thick yet it is tough enough to protect us from the outside environment and withstand the wear and tear of everyday life.
Features of the metabolic syndrome common in persons with psoriasis
Individuals with psoriasis have a high prevalence of the metabolic syndrome, according to a report posted online today that will appear in the April 2011 print issue of Archives of Dermatology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.
According to background information in the article, individual features of the metabolic syndrome include obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and high total cholesterol and triglycerides. Additional background information notes that while past studies have suggested a link between psoriasis and individual components of the metabolic syndrome, there is little data available regarding the association between psoriasis and the metabolic syndrome as a whole.
Using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, Thorvardur Jon Love, M.D., of Landspitali University Hospital, Reykjavik, Iceland, and colleagues, examined the association between psoriasis and the metabolic syndrome. The study included 6,549 individuals, and the mean (average) age of participants was 39, half were men and the mean body mass index (BMI) was 28.
Artificial “skin” materials can sense pressure
New artificial “skin” fashioned out of flexible semiconductor materials can sense touch, making it possible to create robots with a grip delicate enough to hold an egg, yet strong enough to grasp the frying pan, U.S. researchers said on Sunday.
Scientists have long struggled with a way to make robotic devices capable of adjusting the amount of force needed to hold and use different objects. The pressure-sensitive materials are designed to overcome that challenge.
“Humans generally know how to hold a fragile egg without breaking it,” said Ali Javey, an electrical engineer at the University of California Berkeley, who led one of two teams reporting on artificial skin discoveries in the journal Nature Materials.
2010 “Suntelligence: How Sun Smart is Your City?” Fact Sheet
The American Academy of Dermatology’s (Academy) “Suntelligence: How Sun Smart is Your City?” survey polled adults in 26 U.S. cities and ranked them based on residents’ answers to a range of questions testing their knowledge, attitudes and behaviors toward preventing and detecting skin cancer.
The rankings of the 26 U.S. metropolitan cities are as follows:
No. 1 - Hartford
No. 2 - Salt Lake City
No. 3 - Denver
No. 4 - Tampa
No. 5 - Boston
No. 6 - Phoenix
No. 7 - Atlanta
No. 8 - Philadelphia
No. 9 - Portland
No. 10 - Baltimore
No. 11 - Dallas
Association Discovered Between Eczema in Early Childhood and Psychological Problems
Association Discovered Between Eczema in Early Childhood and Psychological Problems in Children at Age 10 Years
Neuherberg, February 10., 2010. Eczema in early childhood may influence behavior and mental health later in life. This is a key finding of a prospective birth cohort study to which scientists of Helmholtz Zentrum München contributed. In cooperation with colleagues of Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (LMU), Technische Universität München (TUM) and Marien-Hospital in Wesel, North Rhine-Westphalia this study followed 5,991 children who were born between 1995 and 1998. The study has been published in the current issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 125 (2010); 404-410.
Researchers, led by Assistant Professor Jochen Schmitt of Dresden University Hospital, Dr. Christian Apfelbacher (Heidelberg University Hospital) and Dr. Joachim Heinrich of the Institute of Epidemiology of Helmholtz Zentrum München, discovered that children who suffered from eczema during the first two years of life were more likely to demonstrate psychological abnormalities, in particular emotional problems, at age ten years than children of the same age who had not suffered from the disease. “This indicates that eczema can precede and lead to behavioral and psychological problems in children,” Dr. Heinrich explained.
Psoriasis treatment may up cancer risk
Patients with moderate to severe psoriasis may need life-long treatment with a variety of therapies to relieve symptoms of the scaly skin condition and research has shown that both traditional and newer therapies for psoriasis can increase patients’ risk of certain cancers.
Long-term treatment with so-called PUVA therapy, they note, is associated with increased risks of deadly malignant melanoma as well as a less deadly non-melanoma skin cancer called cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma, Dr. Jeffrey M. Weinberg, of St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center, New York, and colleagues note in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.
During PUVA therapy, patients are given the photosensitizing drug psoralen and exposed to ultraviolet A light.
Severe Cases of Psoriasis Can be Associated with Other Serious Medical Conditions
On the surface, the thick, red, scaly, itchy plaques of psoriasis – which have been shown to have a significant negative impact on a person’s overall quality of life – may not appear to pose a serious health risk for patients. However, a growing body of research suggests that psoriasis patients are at an increased risk of developing serious medical conditions, including cardiovascular disease and diabetes, particularly when their psoriasis is severe.
Speaking today at the 67th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology (Academy), dermatologist Joel M. Gelfand, MD, MSCE, FAAD, assistant professor of dermatology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in Philadelphia, spoke about this complex skin condition and its relationship to other serious medical conditions.
Dr. Gelfand explained that for the last two decades, research has shown that excessive inflammation is a critical feature of psoriasis. This discovery has led to innovative approaches to treating psoriasis, with therapies targeting selected areas of the immune system that are over-active in psoriasis patients. Excess inflammation also is present in other common conditions, such as hardening of the arteries, heart attacks, stroke, obesity and diabetes – which may explain why some psoriasis patients may be at an increased risk for developing these other serious conditions.
Investigational study of ustekinumab in the treatment of psoriatic arthritis published
A group of patients suffering from potentially debilitating psoriatic arthritis showed significant and prolonged improvement after treatment with ustekinumab, according to data from a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study in patients with moderate to severe psoriatic arthritis (PsA). The Phase 2 study was published in the British medical journal The Lancet.
“This is a positive development for patients living with the joint pain and swelling that characterizes the disease, even as more research is needed to further test the efficacy of this treatment in psoriatic arthritis,” said Alice Gottlieb, MD, Chairperson of the Department of Dermatology at Tufts Medical Center and lead author of the study.
Tufts Medical Center was among several academic medical centers which participated in the study. Tufts Medical Center is a 451-bed hospital in Boston and the primary teaching hospital for Tufts University School of Medicine.
TNF-blocker therapy for RA may trigger psoriasis
Evidence continues to mount that so-called TNF-blockers used to treat rheumatoid arthritis (RA) may lead to psoriasis. The latest study by UK researchers adds to individual case reports of psoriasis occurring in RA patients treated with TNF blockers.
“We observed 25 cases of new-onset psoriasis in our cohort of almost 10,000 patients with rheumatoid arthritis receiving anti-TNF therapy,” investigator Dr. Kimme L. Hyrich told Reuters Health. This compared to “no cases reported in our non-biologic treated control cohort.”
As reported in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, Hyrich of the University of Manchester and colleagues studied data on 9826 anti-TNF-treated patients and 2880 treated with so-called DMARDS (short for disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs).
Low birth weight ups risk of infant skin tumors
The incidence of reddish skin tumors called infantile hemangiomas has grown in recent years, and low birth weight is the leading risk factor driving the increase, new research suggests.
“If we can identify certain factors that put infants at risk for hemangiomas, that helps us understand how to prevent or treat them more appropriately,” study chief Dr. Beth A. Drolet, from the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, told Reuters Health.
Infantile hemangiomas are non-cancerous tumors that can grow rapidly during infancy, but usually resolve by 9 years of age. Hemangiomas are the most common tumors in infants and, aside from cosmetic concerns, most have no medical significance. However, some may cause medical problems or permanent scarring, Drolet and her colleagues point out in the Journal of Pediatrics.
Two lasers no better than one for hair removal
Combining two different types of lasers to remove unwanted hair is no more effective than using either laser alone, and may result in more adverse effects, new research shows.
Laser hair removal, first described in 1996, works by destroying the hair follicle, Dr. Alireza Firooz, of the Tehran University of Medical Sciences in Iran, and colleagues explain in the Archives of Dermatology.
Various wavelengths of laser light are in use, they add, while some “controversial” ideas have been put forth about the effectiveness of using more than one type of laser in combination.
Doctors warn of rash from mobile phone use
Doctors baffled by an unexplained rash on people’s ears or cheeks should be on alert for a skin allergy caused by too much mobile phone use, the British Association of Dermatologists said on Thursday.
Citing published studies, the group said a red or itchy rash, known as “mobile phone dermatitis,” affects people who develop an allergic reaction to the nickel surface on mobile phones after spending long periods of time on the devices.
“It is worth doctors bearing this condition in mind if they see a patient with a rash on the cheek or ear that cannot otherwise be explained,” it said.