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New in Body Treatments (page 32 of 33)

Nov
09
2006

Massage Helps Babies Sleep

Good news for sleepless new parents—research shows that massage helps newborn babies sleep more and cry less.

Massage also lowers stress levels in infants and helps the bonding process with the parent, it was claimed.

The study found that infants under six months who received massage also had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol compared to babies who had not.

A team of researchers from Warwick Medical School and the Institute of Education at the University of Warwick looked at nine massage studies covering 598 babies under six months old.

Babies were massaged by parents who had been trained by health professionals and the infants who received massage were found to have beneficial effects.

One of the studies found that massage could affect the release of the sleep hormone melatonin, helping babies' sleeping patterns.

Another showed that babies in an orphanage who usually had little tactile stimulation grew faster, were less ill and had less clinical visits when they were given massage, made eye contact with and spoken to.

The researchers also found that massage built better relationships between babies and mothers who had postnatal depression.

Angela Underdown, who led the research, said: "Given the apparent effect of infant massage on stress hormones, it is not surprising to find some evidence of an effect on sleep and crying.

"It gives parents and babies intimate time. We haven't said that it should be on offer to everyone, but massage does no harm, and it improves a number of factors. It seems to have some effect on sleep and relaxation.

"We looked at babies under six months because that's when parents and babies are forming their attachments and babies are forming their sleep patterns."

Life Style Extra, November 8, 2006

Oct
26
2006

Dual Drug Therapy Effective Against Pemphigus Vulgaris

A new combination treatment offers hope to people who have the blistering, potentially fatal skin disease known as pemphigus vulgaris.

By combining the cancer-fighting drug rituximab with intravenous immune globulin, Harvard doctors have discovered a therapy that can effectively treat people with cases of pemphigus vulgaris that haven't responded to other treatments.

"We got a home run with this combination," said study co-author Dr. Marshall Posner, medical director of the head and neck oncology program at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School.

"These patients were extremely ill and on multiple medications," he said. "This therapy resulted in complete eradication of the disease for nine patients." The remaining two patients in the study required additional doses of the treatment before they, too, went into remission. All of those involved in the study had sustained remissions, some as long as 37 months, by the end of the study.

Results of the study are published in the Oct. 26 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Pemphigus vulgaris is a rare autoimmune disease that causes the skin cells to stop adhering to one another. Blisters and lesions form, usually beginning in the mouth and then spreading to the skin.

"Before the discovery of corticosteroids, it was fatal within five years. People lost the surface of their skin, and died horrible deaths," explained Dr. John Stanley, chairman of the department of dermatology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. "This is an instructive disease about the power of the immune system. While it's usually used for good, it can actually destroy you."

Stanley co-authored a review article in the same issue of the journal about pemphigus and other dermatological diseases.

Currently, the first line of treatment for this devastating skin condition is prednisone, a corticosteroid. While it's often an effective treatment, it has numerous side effects that can be serious, so people generally can't stay on high doses for a long time. Other medications used are immune-suppressing agents that also carry the risk of serious side effects, such as infection.

Posner said most deaths from pemphigus occur as a result of immune-system suppression. But without suppressing the immune system, people with pemphigus would continue to develop blisters and erosions in their skin, giving bacteria an easy entry into the body.

Another treatment option is intravenous immune globulin. This option is usually reserved for those who don't respond to the other treatment options. Stanley said scientists aren't sure how this therapy works, but it may be that it replaces the immune-system antibodies that are attacking the skin cells with healthy antibodies.

For most people, these treatments options have proved lifesaving, and people with the disease often do well, said Stanley.

However, there are people who don't respond to any of the currently available treatments. And, the 11 people treated in the new Harvard study fell into that category. None of the available treatments had worked for them, and the disease was covering more than 30 percent of their body's surface area.

Each study volunteer received two cycles of rituximab weekly for three weeks. During the fourth week, they received a dose of intravenous immune globulin. Then, they received monthly infusions of both rituximab and IV immune globulin for four months.

During the initial treatment, nine of the 11 study participants went into remission for an average of 32 months. The remaining two required additional treatments about six months after treatment, but subsequently went back into remission.

While previous research on rituximab has sometimes found serious side effects, such as allergic reaction, Posner said there were virtually no side effects seen in this trial.

He said he thinks this drug combination would likely be helpful in less severe cases of pemphigus vulgaris, and he added that it could potentially be useful for treating other autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus and type 1 diabetes.

"This therapy offers hope for this disease, and it could lead the way to treatment for other diseases that have a big impact on people's lives -- it needs to be investigated in other diseases so we can see how it works in other situations," Posner said.

Stanley said he doubted that rituximab would become a first-line treatment for pemphigus vulgaris anytime soon because the medication is quite costly and insurance companies would likely balk at paying for an expensive drug that isn't FDA approved specifically for treating pemphigus. The problem, he added, is that because pemphigus is so rare, it would be difficult to conduct a large enough trial to get such approval.

But, Posner suggested that while the rituximab/immune globulin combination treatment is more expensive initially, a cost analysis comparing all of the costs, including hospitalizations, might find the combination treatment is the cheaper alternative in the long run.

By Serena Gordon, HealthDay Reporter, October 26, 2006

Oct
24
2006

Ethnic Skin Care

By: Heather Woolery-Lloyd, MD

Discover the unique skin care challenges of various ethnic skin types and about some treatment options.

Oct
20
2006

New Study Indicates Massage Reduces Hand Arthritis Pain

Massage therapy is effective in reducing hand pain and increasing grip strength, according to a new study funded by Biotone and conducted by the Touch Research Institutes (TRI) at the University of Miami School of Medicine in Miami, Fla.

Arthritis is a systemic inflammatory disease, frequently located in the small joints of the hands. It affects the active, working-age population as well as the elderly, causing pain, activity limitations, and a lower quality of life. Many daily activities, for example, require considerable hand strength, such as opening doors, opening jar lids, lifting and carrying items. Hand strength in patients with arthritis is 75 percent lower than in healthy patients.

“While massage therapy has decreased pain in several pain syndromes, including fibromyalgia, lower back pain and migraine, this is the first report of pain reduction in hand arthritis following massage therapy,” said Dr. Tiffany Field, TRI director. “Up to now, many other interventions to alleviate hand pain have been tried -- medications, physical therapy and various forms of exercise. The results of this study are very encouraging for the application of massage therapy as a complementary alternative treatment for hand arthritis.”

Under the study, 22 adults ranging in age from 20 to 65 with wrist/hand arthritis were randomly assigned to a massage therapy or a standard treatment control group. The massage therapy group received massage on the affected wrist/hand once a week for a four-week period and also conducted self-massage on the wrist/hand at home daily. Biotone Polar Lotion was used in the massage therapy. The standard treatment control group did not receive massage therapy during the study. 

The massage therapy group had lower anxiety and depressed mood scores after the first and last sessions, and by the end of the study reported less pain and greater grip strength. The massage therapy group showed greater improvement than the standard treatment control group on all of these measures across the study period.

“Biotone continues to fund research regarding the different effects of massage therapy on consumer's health and well being," said Jean Shea, Biotone founder and CEO. “The arthritis, breast cancer and back pain studies we funded all have shown positive results that are very encouraging. Our research studies, in addition to the many others being conducted worldwide, provide increased awareness and acceptance of massage therapy as an effective complementary alternative treatment."

Biotone is supporting two research projects through the Massage Therapy Foundation for 2006. The research studies involve therapeutic massage for pediatric burn survivors and the effects of five minute foot massages on pediatric Intensive Care Unit patients. More information will be available soon.

Sep
27
2006

Compulsive Skin Picking

By Judi Bailey

Learn more about identifying this disorder and helping clients who demonstrate its symptoms.

Sep
08
2006

Eczema Rates Stabilizing in U.K.

Rates of eczema and hay fever in the United Kingdom appear to have stabilized, after charting a steady rise over recent decades.

However, the study also found that rates of systemic allergic reactions -- including the severe condition known as anaphylaxis -- have surged in the past 20 years.

The researchers analyzed data gathered from numerous sources: national surveys, primary care doctors, prescription and hospital admission records, and death records.

Over the past three decades, diagnoses of allergic rhinitis and eczema in children have tripled, but there appears to have been a recent decrease in the prevalence of symptoms. Hospital admissions for eczema have stabilized since 1995, the researchers found, while admissions for allergic rhinitis have decreased to about 40 percent of their 1990 levels.

Between 1971 and 1991, the number of consultations with family doctors about hay fever increased by 260 percent and by 150 percent for eczema. However, these rates have stabilized in the past 10 years, the study said.

Hospital admissions for anaphylaxis have soared by 700 percent, for food allergy by 500 percent, and for the skin allergy urticaria by 100 percent.

Prescriptions for all types of allergies have increased since 1991.

The researchers said that some of the trends could be related to changes in medical practice and care but could also be explained by changes in the sources of allergic disease.

The study was published in the current issue of Thorax.

HealthDay News, September 7, 2006

Sep
05
2006

FDA Seeks Ban on OTC Skin Bleaching Products

The FDA is seeking to ban over-the-counter sales of skin bleaching drug products.

The FDA cites the possible risk of cancer and skin discoloration from hydroquinone typically found in these products.

However, those cancer studies were done on rats, not people.

"The actual risk to humans from use of hydroquinone has yet to be fully determined," the FDA states in its proposal, published in the U.S. government's Federal Register.

The type of skin discoloration noted by the FDA is called exogenous ochronosis, a darkening of the skin. The FDA cites research linking the condition to hydroquinone use.

The FDA isn't proposing a ban on prescription skin bleaching drug products. But all such products would need to submit a new drug application for the FDA's review.

Not all skin lighteners contain hydroquinone. The FDA knows of 200 products containing hydroquinone in strengths from 0.4% to 5%, about two-thirds of which "appear to be marketed as OTC [over-the-counter] drugs," says the FDA.

The FDA is taking comments on its proposal until Dec. 27.

Expert's Views

WebMD spoke with dermatologist Susan Taylor, MD, of Society Hill Dermatology in Philadelphia, and the Skin of Color Center in New York about the FDA's proposal.

"I feel that hydroquinones are safe and effective treatment for pigmentary disorders," Taylor says. "I feel comfortable recommending that my patients continue to use hydroquinones if they have a pigmentary disorder."

"I think the evidence is quite weak with the link between hydroquinones and cancer," Taylor tells WebMD.

"Data on rats and mice cannot necessarily be extrapolated to human data," she says.

"In Africa, people have used hyrdoquinones for long periods of time ... meaning years, 10, 20, 30, years ... and at high concentrations," Taylor says. "We've not seen a proliferation of various types of cancers reported from that population.

Exogenous ochronosis is rare in the U.S., Taylor notes.

"If you look at the case reports, it's probably less than 200," Taylor says. "So it's really not a significant problem here in the United States."

Millions of Users

Taylor points out that "many patients have disorders that are truly disfiguring and devastating. And these conditions can be improved significantly with hydroquinone products."

"It's important therapy and it's used by millions and millions of people," Taylor says.

She says hydroquinone products are primarily used to lighten dark areas of the skin due to conditions including injury, rashes, acne, and sun damage.

"So there are real problems and this is a real solution," Taylor says. She adds that filing new drug applications can cost millions of dollars.

"My concern is that we could lose prescription products that we have," Taylor says. "That would have major consequences, I think."

"It's safe, effective; it's the gold standard, and I think our patients would benefit from continued use for these problems. I think those three points sum it up for me," Taylor says.

SOURCES: U.S. Government Printing Office, Federal Register, Aug. 29, 2006; vol 71: pp 51146-51155. Susan Taylor, MD, Society Hill Dermatology, Philadelphia, Skin of Color Center, New York.

By Miranda Hitti, WebMD, August 30, 2006

Jun
30
2006

Bioelements Launches Sebum Control Massage Treatment

Try your hand at Bioelements’ Sebum Control Massage Treatment that treats oil-rich skin with soothing, nonstimulating massage techniques. 800-433-6650, info@bioelements.com

May
31
2006

Eiji Salon Launches Eastern Ocean Spa Manicure

Try the all-natural Eastern Ocean Spa Manicure from Eiji Salon in New York, which embodies relaxation and rejuvenation. 212-838-3454

May
26
2006

ISPA Members Help Spa-Goers Keep Cool This Summer

Because spas are seen as places for nurturing and wellness, spa professionals are offering special treatments and products this summer that encourage safe skin care. The Skin Cancer Foundation reports that more than 90% of all skin cancers are caused by sun exposure. International SPA Association (ISPA) members want to help lower that percentage.

From sunscreens, lotions and moisturizers, to treatments and products that give the appearance of a tan without the need for the sun, ISPA members are offering consumers numerous safe ways to enjoy this summer. “With 2,500 members in 73 countries, ISPA’s network of spas and product companies can make a real difference in the skin care habits of consumers,” says ISPA president, Lynne Walker McNees. “With some 57 million Americans having visited a spa, the industry is dedicated to promoting positive health habits of spa-goers.”

In addition to products and treatments that offer sun protection or help repair skin already damaged by the sun, ISPA members also report an interest in the following offerings this summer.

  • Facials featuring antioxidants and vitamins to replenish winter-worn skin.
  • Body polishes and scrubs to get rid of sallow winter skin and allow skin care moisturizers to soak in more easily.
  • Cooling and hydrating wraps and peels to help spa-goers beat the summer heat or cool down after too much time in the sun.  
  • Of course, pedicures to keep feet looking great in sandals and around the pool.
  • And, as the No. 1 treatment, massage is popular year-round and can be customized for summer to include ingredients that offer soothing from the sun, such as aloe. Also, incorporating fruits, herbs, plants and flowers that grow in the warmer months are popular additions to massages offered in the summer.