PRESS RELEASE FROM JOURNAL OF INVESTIGATIVE DERMATOLOGY
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Itching and scratching
Dust mites produce an allergen that disrupts the skin’s ability to act as a barrier to other allergens and environmental irritants according to research published this week in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology.
Toshiro Takai and colleagues convincingly demonstrate evidence of such disruption in vivo. Their finding indicates that the inflammation, increased allergen susceptibility, itchiness and dry skin are first triggered by the protein-degrading action of the dust-mite allergen. Since dust mites inhabit even the cleanest homes and live in furniture, carpets, and bedding – it is their dead skin and droppings that cause allergic reactions – many have the potential of a reaction.
Fifteen million Americans suffer from a skin condition, atopic dermatitis or eczema, which is exacerbated by the common house dust mite. These results impact a condition that accounts for up to 20% of all dermatologist visits and treatment costs of more than $1 billion annually. Follow-up studies will review the growing prevalence of eczema and therapeutic strategies for this expensive medical problem.
Toshiro Takai (Juntendo University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan)
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