Thursday, September 13, 2012


Funding for research about psoriasis has not been a high government priority, so funds are scarce from government sources. Also, most people and many doctors consider psoriasis to be an aesthetic or cosmetic problem rather than the much deeper physical problem that it really is. The National Psoriasis Foundation took the bull by the horns and gathered donations to kick-start research, some of which is producing interesting results.

One of the programs that they started is funding research by Dr Nehal N Mehta, a preventive and nuclear cardiologist at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine. He has used some very fancy electronic equipment to look for inflammation in the bodies of people with and without psoriasis, to see if there are differences.

As expected, the scans showed extensive inflammation in the areas of skin that showed psoriasis on the surface. Of more importance though, they also showed inflammation in other parts of the bodies of people with psoriasis that was not there in patients without the condition. These included joints, blood vessels, heart and liver. The joint inflammation is linked to arthritis but the inflammation in other organs can also be tied to problems and potential failure in those organs in the future. When the joints are painful then it is inconvenient or uncomfortable but when the heart or liver fails or the blood vessels become blocked then the body is in serious trouble.

These results came out of a pilot study and more research must be done to expand the knowledge that comes out of this work. The  National Psoriasis Foundation needs funds to finance further research, so if you have psoriasis and are not a member, please visit their website and consider joining.

My little psoriasis blog does not have the importance to psoriasis that Dr Mehta's research has but something that I have said a few times is reinforced by these findings. I have said that psoriasis is not only a skin condition and cannot only be treated with topical creams or anything else that treats only the symptoms. The inflammation that was found in the body scans comes from inside the body, not through the skin. Don't expect to treat a problem that originates inside the body by rubbing on some magic cream that you have bought either over the counter or the Internet.

Those creams can and should form part of your overall treatment regimen to alleviate itching, redness and scaling but they are treating the symptom and not the cause. For long term positive results you must treat the cause and that means treating it from inside.

Inflammation is one of the body's defence mechanisms, triggered by the immune system. Over-active immune response in any part of the body is an auto-immune problem or imbalance and needs to be treated at the source. Auto-immune problems are generally rooted in the digestive system, so that is what needs to be corrected. The human body is not a mechanical device that can be adjusted by turning a screw, it must be adjusted by changing what is put into it as fuel and which is turned into the building blocks of the cells throughout the body.

Anything that you can do to improve your digestion and speed up elimination is likely to help reduce inflammation. To this end, consuming colourful fresh vegetables and fruit with anti-oxidant properties will go a long way toward correcting the imbalances, particularly broccoli, spinach and other cruciferous vegetables, as well as carrots, butternut and similar brightly coloured produce. Aside from tasting good, they also brighten your meal and make it more appealing. On the other side, cut down as much as you can on red meats, replace them with poultry and cold water fish.

Cut down or eliminate artificial bastes and sauces, they also contain stuff that is not good for psoriasis or any other auto-immune condition. Replace them with herbs and spices to add zest to your meal. Many of those herbs and spices, like ginger root, black pepper, paprika and turmeric are also natural anti-oxidants and will work toward improving your condition.

Also cut down or eliminate the junk that you consume. That means most fast food, sodas (regular and diet varieties) ice creams, candies and highly processed foods like white bread, cold meats, TV meals etc. If you don't want to give up these things, that is your own decision. However, at least educate yourself about what they are doing to your body so that you can make the decision with your eyes fully open. Your public library will likely have much info available for you to read on the subject.

So, please visit the  National Psoriasis Foundation and be careful what you put into your body.