Eczema tougher to treat in black pa­tients

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - NEWS -

Eczema, or atopic der­mati­tis, can be very dif­fi­cult to con­trol in some peo­ple.

But the skin con­di­tion, which leads to itchy and in­flamed skin, is es­pe­cially prob­lem­atic for black peo­ple, new re­search shows.

Sci­en­tists who ex­am­ined skin on a molec­u­lar level found that com­pared with Amer­i­cans of Euro­pean de­scent, African-Amer­i­cans may need higher doses of some med­i­ca­tions to man­age eczema symp­toms.

“Re­search shows about 19 per­cent of African Amer­i­cans and 16 per­cent of Euro­pean Amer­i­cans are di­ag­nosed with atopic der­mati­tis,” said study lead au­thor Dr. Emma GuttmanYassky, with the Ic­ahn School of Medicine at Mount Si­nai in New York.

“Our study found there are sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ences in the skin of peo­ple with atopic der­mati­tis than in those with­out the con­di­tion,” she added.

“Fur­ther­more, we found African Amer­i­cans with atopic der­mati­tis have more in­flam­ma­tion than Euro­pean Amer­i­cans with the con­di­tion,” GuttmanYassky said in a news re­lease from the Amer­i­can Col­lege of Al­lergy, Asthma and Im­munol­ogy.

Sci­en­tists are us­ing molec­u­lar skin pro­fil­ing to de­velop more ef­fec­tive treat­ments for eczema. Pre­vi­ous re­search had in­cluded only Euro­peanAmer­i­cans with the con­di­tion, the study au­thors said.

So the new study com­pared the molec­u­lar pro­file of the skin in eczema pa­tients of African de­scent with pa­tients of Euro­pean de­scent, look­ing for dif­fer­ences that might help with im­prov­ing treat­ment op­tions for black peo­ple.

“The re­sults in­di­cated that the im­mune pro­file was more un­bal­anced in African Amer­i­cans with atopic der­mati­tis com­pared to Euro­pean Amer­i­cans,” Guttman-Yassky said.

The study au­thors said this was the first molec­u­lar study to seek out and iden­tify dif­fer­ences that could help doc­tors un­der­stand why eczema is of­ten more se­vere and dif­fi­cult to con­trol among black peo­ple.

The find­ings were pub­lished in Septem­ber in the An­nals of Al­lergy, Asthma and Im­munol­ogy.

GETTY

Past re­search had ex­am­ined only Euro­pean-Amer­i­cans.

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