J Allergy Clin Immunol Pract, Aug 2014.
To help find simpler and safer treatment options for children with eczema, in this new study researchers evaluated an approach known as wet wrap therapy, first described in 1987 and not used as a standardized treatment for children with atopic dermatitis.
The technique involves just a few simple steps. First, a child soaks in a bathtub of warm water for about 20 minutes. After the child is removed from the tub, topical medications are quickly applied to eczematous areas and creams or ointments to the clear skin while the skin is still damp. Then, the child is immediately dressed in wet clothing or wraps to seal in the moisture, followed by a layer of dry clothing. After at least two hours, the clothing is removed.
After being treated by health care teams using this method, children who underwent in-patient therapy saw an average reduction in symptoms of 71%, they maintained healthy skin a month after returning home and, perhaps most important, did so without relying solely on medications typically prescribed to these patients.
EMBO Mol Med, Sep 2014.
The researchers observed an increase in the accumulation of plasmacytoid dendritic cells in the psoriatic lesions of patients as well as in mice that are model organisms for the study of the disease. The scientists suggest that new strategies to regulate the composition of dendritic cells in psoriatic skin lesions might represent an approach for the future treatment of the disease.
Plasmacytoid dendritic cells are a specific type of immune cell that can infiltrate damaged tissue during the early phase of psoriasis. In contrast, the levels of another type of dendritic cells, known as Langerhans cells, were significantly decreased in the lesions compared to healthy skin in humans and mice. In this study authors demonstrate that if the levels of plasmacytoid dendritic cells in mice were decreased during the early stages of the disease then the symptoms of psoriasis were quelled. A similar decrease in Langerhans cells at an early stage of the disease had no effect. If the levels of Langerhans cells were reduced at advanced stages of the disease, the symptoms of psoriasis were exacerbated.
Optics Letters, Aug 2014.
A new hand-held device that uses lasers and sound waves may change the way doctors treat and diagnose melanoma, according with a recently published article.
The thicker the melanoma tumor, the more likely it will spread and the deadlier it becomes. Being able to measure the depth of the tumor in vivo enables doctors to determine prognoses more accurately – potentially at the time of initial evaluation – and plan treatments and surgeries accordingly. This new instrument is the first that can be used directly on a patient and accurately measure how deep a melanoma tumor extends into the skin, providing valuable information.
Cell, Jun 2014.
Previous studies have indicated that many people who adopt UV-seeking behavior meet the clinical criteria for substance addiction, but the mechanisms underlying UV addiction have been unclear. In an attempt to unravel the workings behind UV addiction, the team conducted a study in which shaved mice were exposed to UV rays 5 days a week for 6 weeks. The UV rays the mice were exposed to were the equivalent of a fair-skinned human of average tanning ability being exposed to 20-30 minutes of ambient midday sun in Florida during summer.
After 1 week, the researchers found that endorphin levels in the bloodstream of the mice increased. After 6 weeks of UV exposure, some of the mice received an opioid-blocking drug. This caused them to experience withdrawal symptoms, such as shaking, teeth chattering and tremors. These mice then avoided box locations where they had received the drug, indicating that excessive UV exposure triggers addiction-like behavior and physical dependence.