ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Air Pollution May Raise Blood Pressure
Herbal Remedy Could Halt Peanut Allergy
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Spot light on Dani Antman New Lionheart teacher
No Verdict Yet on Grape Seed Extract vs. Breast Cancer
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
ANIMAL CARE
Safe Toys for Dogs
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
BONES & JOINTS
Heart Failure Raises Risk of Fractures
Put Your Best Foot Forward Next Year
Vitamin C Protects Some Elderly Men From Bone Loss
CANCER
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
Tanning Beds Shown To Raise Cancer Risk, Study Says
Get to Know the Pap Test
CAREGIVING
Recession Scrambling Health Spending in U.S.
Omega-3 Fatty Acid May Help 'Preemie' Girls' Brains
Tainted China Formula Caused High Rate of Kidney Stones in Kids
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Support Network May Play Role in Benefits of Drinking
Bye, Bye Back Fat?
Exercise Extends Life of Kidney Patients
COSMETIC
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
DENTAL, ORAL
An Oral Approach to Heart Disease
Rheumatoid Arthritis May Harm Gums
Toothbrushing May Stave Off Heart Woes
DIABETES
Formula Puts Doctor, Patient Glucose Readings on Same Page
Chamomile Tea May Ward Off Diabetes Damage
Vitamin K Slows Insulin Resistance in Older Men
DIET, NUTRITION
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
Imagine Food Aromas That Prevent Overeating
Coffee Drinkers Might Live Longer
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Household Insecticides May Be Linked to Autoimmune Diseases
Improved Fungicides May Be Easier on Environment
Smog Tougher on the Obese
EYE CARE, VISION
Protein Might One Day Prevent Blindness
Impotence Drugs Don't Harm Vision: Study
Diabetic Eye Disease Rates Soaring
FITNESS
Go To Work But Skip The Car
Occupational Therapy Plus Exercise Benefits Osteoarthritis
Almost Two-Thirds of Americans Meet Exercise Guidelines
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
GENERAL HEALTH
Mind Exercise Might Help Stroke Patients
The Juice From Beetroots May Boost Stamina
You Can Get Great Exercise In The Garden
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Obese People Seem to Do Better With Heart Disease
Heart Disease May Be Prevented By Taking Fish Oils, Study Shows
Omega-3, Some Omega-6 Fatty Acids Boost Cardiovascular Health
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Gene Variation Found in Boys With Delinquent Peers
Folic Acid Reduces Infant Heart Defects
Obese Children More Likely to Suffer Lower Body Injuries
MEN'S HEALTH
Drinking Green Tea May Slow Prostate Cancer
Low Iron Levels Cut Cancer Risk in Men With PAD
Lots of Sex May Prevent Erectile Dysfunction
MENTAL HEALTH
Optimism May Boost Immune System
Chocolate a Sweet Pick-Me-Up for the Depressed
Meaningful Conversations Boost Kids' Language Skills
PAIN
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Yoga's Benefits Outweigh Risks for Pregnant Women
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
Mom's Extra Pregnancy Pounds May Raise Child's Heart Risks
SENIORS
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
The Healthy Habits of Centenarians
Healthy Diet Could Cut Alzheimer's Disease Risk
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Bitter Melon Extract May Slow, Stop Breast Cancer
Steady Weight Gain Boosts Late-Life Breast Cancer Risk
Green Tea May Help Treat Uterine Fibroids
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With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope

THURSDAY, Jan. 22 (HealthDay News) -- People with psoriasis can get valuable educational, psychological and social support from online communities, a U.S. study finds.

It included 260 adults who took part in one of five online support groups. The participants -- mostly white, female, college-educated and averaging 40 years old -- included 188 (73.7 percent) with moderate or severe psoriasis and 206 (79.9 percent) who rated their health as average or better.

The availability of resources was the key factor in their use of an online support group, followed by convenience, access to good advice and lack of embarrassment when dealing with personal issues. In addition, about three-fourths of the participants said anonymity was an important feature of online support use.

The study found that 49.5 percent of participants said they believed their quality of life improved, and 41 percent perceived improvements in psoriasis severity, after they joined an online group. The findings were published in the January issue of Archives of Dermatology.

"Although online psoriasis support groups are still in their nascent stage, they have captured a loyal and growing audience," wrote Shereene Z. Idriss and colleagues at the Center for Connected Health, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, all in Boston. "The dermatology community should consider leveraging the infrastructure of online support groups to build on delivering personalized and integrated medical care to individuals affected by psoriasis."

Psoriasis, a disease that causes skin and joint problems, affects 0.6 percent to 4.8 percent of the world's population, according to background information in the study. The disease can also affect financial, emotional and sexual well-being, and about 10 percent of people with psoriasis have contemplated suicide, the study said in explaining the need for psychological support for people with the disease.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about psoriasis.



-- Robert Preidt



SOURCE: JAMA/Archives journals, news release, Jan. 19, 2009

Last Updated: Jan. 22, 2009

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