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Chronic skin condition treated with exercise

Friday, 16 November 2012


Can exercise and nutrition help treat – or even cure – psoriasis, a chronic and often painful skin condition? This is the focus of a new study by researchers from Edith Cowan University (ECU).

Psoriasis affects around one per cent of the Australian population and has no known cure. The main feature is red itch, scaly areas or patches which usually appear on the knees, elbows, scalp and legs but it can also cause a form of arthritis.

Although the exact mechanism is not known, the immune system is involved. Previous studies by ECU’s researchers have demonstrated that certain exercise prescriptions can have positive effects on the immune system.  

ECU’s Health and Wellness Institute researchers have already demonstrated that exercise can assist in the fight against cancer and the treatment of dementia.

This new $170,000 research project, funded by Abbott Australia, will explore how exercise and nutrition could have a positive impact on psoriasis.

“Currently psoriasis is treated quite effectively by a drug from Abbott Pharmaceuticals called Humira but working in partnership with the company we believe we can increase the benefits by appropriate exercise and reduction in body fat,” project lead Professor Newton said.

“Being overweight and having low muscle mass causes chronic low grade inflammation which exacerbates the psoriasis and reduces effectiveness of Humira.”

“Our approach will be to trial an exercise and nutrition program to maximise muscle gain and fat loss while monitoring changes in inflammatory state and severity of psoriasis.”

“We envisage that the nutrition and exercise prescription will have a positive effect on their symptoms, ideally the drug will be more effective, psoriasis dramatically reduced or possibly improve to the point of remission,” Professor Newton said.

The project will run throughout 2013 with results expected towards the end of the year.

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