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Goodbye to the Itchy & Scratchy Show?

Is it possible? Is your chronic eczema about to be a thing of the past? US scientists have high hopes.

The new drug is called Dupilumab and is given by injection instead of applied directly onto the rash as a cream, which is the usual way to treat eczema. So far the scientists have tried Dupilumab on 200 people who have been suffering eczema for around 25 years and they have been excited by the results. Nearly all those who tried it – 85% of the group – found their levels of eczema dropped by half. Many of the people in the trial also found that as well as stopping the itching, Dupilumab also cleared - or cleared some of – the lesions or raw and sore patches that are caused by sufferers continually scratching. New drugs developed in America have to be approved by a government office called the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA). This office makes sure that new medicines actually do what they are supposed to do, with no harm to the patient.  So although the FDA has yet to give approval to Dupilumab, scientists say they are very, very excited about the breakthrough. And because those who suffer from eczema often also suffer from asthma, there is hope that Dupilumab will also help asthmatics. For further details read the article here.

SOURCES: Lisa Beck, M.D., professor, dermatology, department of dermatology, and professor, medicine, division of allergy and immunology, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, N.Y.; David Pariser, M.D., professor, department of dermatology, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk, Va.; Mark Davis, M.D., professor, dermatology, and chair, clinical division of dermatology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.; July 10, 2014, New England Journal of Medicine.

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Feature article: pneumococcal disease

Pneumococcal disease is a bacterial infection that produces a range of symptoms, from minor to very serious. Some strains of the bacteria are likely to cause infections in particular parts of the body more than others, such as the sinuses (sinusitis) and the ear (middle ear infection). The bacteria can spread to other body parts causing pneumonia and invasive pneumococcal disease, including blood infection and meningitis.

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