Health and Fitness

A New Disease of the Skin

Written by blasa91

Modern medicine still has “new” diseases from time to time. It is remarkable how quickly the medical community responds to a new disease, such as AIDS in the 1980s, identifies its root cause, and begins developing treatments. What used to take decades now only takes a few years. For instance, the first cases of AIDS were reported in 1981, and successful AZT trials began in 1987.

A brand-new skin condition:

The first report on a new dermatologic disease and a group of fifteen patients with it was published in 2000. End-stage renal disease patients on dialysis experience a hardening of the hands and feet as a result of the disease.

Many patients’ skin hardening progressed over time, resulting in a loss of joint mobility, pain, and often incapacity to walk or use their hands. Because dialysis has been around for a long time and this disease, known as nephrogenic fibrosing dermopathy (NFD), was not discovered until 2000, the cause was not dialysis.

More than 170 cases had been reported or published, and a registry was established in 2005 to keep track of patients with this new disease. However, the cause remained a mystery, and there were no effective treatments for this terrible condition, which frequently resulted in death.

A potential development:

The Danish Health Authority then reported 25 cases of nephrogenic fibrosing dermopathy from two European medical centers to the FDA in the middle of 2006. A single dose of a gadolinium-containing contrast agent was administered to really failing patients who underwent an MRI.

( A chemical called contrast agent is injected into a patient’s vein before an MRI. The difference features specific designs in the body on an X-ray examination permitting the radiologist to see organs and different designs more.) Within three months of receiving the contrast, all of the patients developed NFD.

There have been approximately 200 reports of NFD worldwide. The number of these patients who received gadolinium-containing contrast agents is currently being investigated. Gadolinium-contrast is only an “association” and not a known “cause” of the disease, so there is currently no cure. However, this new disease exemplifies how the global medical community works together to combat emerging diseases.

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