Eczema tougher to treat in black patients
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.
Past research had examined only European-Americans.