Research Recap--What You Need To Know

Research over the past few decades has been critical to revealing how psoriasis is an autoimmune disease, the role of chronic inflammation in causing psoriasis skin symptoms as well as other long-term health complications, and in advancing new treatments. Keeping on top of emerging research is important to in order to best manage psoriasis symptoms, treat the underlying health condition, and to improve the quality of life of people living with psoriasis.

We try to feature research that we think is most relevant to the community either through a short news summary or an article that focuses a little more on implications of the research. In case you missed some of these headlines over the past month, here is a recap of research reports we've covered:

Microbiome and psoriasis

A couple recent studies, although still in early stages, indicate that natural bacteria in the body (microbiota), may be a psoriasis trigger.  Some research has focused on microbiota that is found on the skin and other research has focused on microbiota that are found in the gut. Regardless of where the microbiota comes from, the research demonstrates a correlation between the presence of certain microbiota and psoriasis flare-ups and other symptoms.

In general, this research advances the theory that disturbances in microbiome can result in the immune system dysregulation that underlies psoriasis and other autoimmune conditions. As research reveals more about this connection, it is hoped that the role of the microbiome may be factored into developing more effective treatments.

For more information, read the full article.

Vascular inflammation and psoriasis #1

Clinical data and research confirm that the more severe the psoriasis symptoms in an individual, the greater the amount of vascular inflammation.  High levels of vascular inflammation are an indicator of current, or predictor of future cardiovascular complications. The study highlighted in this article demonstrated that vascular inflammation was seen throughout the body, not just at body sites where there were more severe psoriasis plaques.

There are several important implications of this research. This research will hopefully help develop treatments that can reduce psoriasis inflammation and flare-ups while at the same time reducing vascular inflammation. In the meantime, healthcare providers for people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis should conduct frequent screening of their patients for cardiovascular risk factors.

For more information, read the full article.

Medical marijuana for psoriasis treatment?

Recent studies point the potential for psoriasis relief from medical marijuana, with several focusing specifically on cannabis oil. This research suggests that stimulating cannabinoid receptors through the use of medical marijuana could be a means to reducing inflammation and the overproduction of skin cells that leads to plaques.  It also has the potential for helping to regulate skin production, while decreasing pain and itching associated with plaques, and joint pain associated with psoriatic arthritis.

For more information, read the full article.

Vascular inflammation and psoriasis #2, atherosclerosis

This research shows that people with psoriasis may be at increased risk of moderate to severe calcium buildup in their arteries, a condition called atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis, in turn, is an indicator of heart disease. In the study discussed in this article, people with psoriasis had a greater chance of having higher amounts of arterial calcium buildup and thus increased risk for heart disease, regardless of body mass, or other factors.

Like the study identified above, this research suggests that early cardiovascular risk assessment is warranted in people with moderate to severe psoriasis.

For more information, read the full article.

Biologics and breast cancer risk

Although the data is limited, recent research suggests that breast cancer risk will not be elevated with the use of biologics. Currently, there are no large-scale long-term studies to verify this; however, the balance of research supports the safety and efficacy of biologics for treating psoriasis, even for people with breast cancer.  The studies reviewed in this article specifically look at those with a recent, previous cancer history, that are then treated with biologics for psoriasis. In these studies, the use of biologics did not demonstrate any increased risk of cancer recurrence or increased development of malignancies.

If you have had, currently have, or could develop cancers like breast cancer you should have these discussions prior to starting treatment with biologics. Including an oncologist along with your psoriasis healthcare team in these discussions will help you determine what is best for you and to plan treatment accordingly.

For more information, read the full article.

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Is there an area of psoriasis research that you are interested in or you think would be important for the community to hear about? Let us know in comments!

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