ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
Keep Asthma, Allergies at Bay for the Holidays
Herbal Remedy Could Halt Peanut Allergy
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Pain-Relieving Powers of Acupuncture Unclear
When Healing Becomes a Commodity
ANIMAL CARE
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Safe Toys for Dogs
BONES & JOINTS
Living Near Major Road May Boost Rheumatoid Arthritis Risk
Rheumatoid Arthritis May Harm Gums
Tips to Ease an Aching Back
CANCER
Antioxidants Pose No Melanoma Threat
Tanning Beds Shown To Raise Cancer Risk, Study Says
To Quit Smoking, Try Logging On
CAREGIVING
Most Women Struggle With Rising Health Care Costs
Are Hospital Mobile Phones Dialing Up Superbugs?
Undoing the 'Big Baby' Trend
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Support Network May Play Role in Benefits of Drinking
Firefighters Have Narrower-Than-Normal Arteries, Study Finds
Laughter Can Boost Heart Health
COSMETIC
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
DENTAL, ORAL
Laser Technology Spots Cavities Before They Start
Study Links Osteoporosis Drugs to Jaw Trouble
Holistic Dentistry-My View
DIABETES
Lifestyle Factors Tied to Older Adults' Diabetes Risk
Strict Blood Sugar Lowering Won't Ease Diabetes Heart Risk
Red-Grape Compound May Improve Diabetes
DIET, NUTRITION
Fruit Even Healthier Than Thought: Study Shows
Mercury in Fish Linked to High Blood Pressure
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Small Doses of Carbon Monoxide Might Help Stroke Victims
Pilots May Face Greater Cancer Risk
Are Medical Meetings Environmentally Unfriendly?
EYE CARE, VISION
Decorative Halloween Eye Lenses May Pose Serious Risks
Poor Night Vision May Predict Age-Related Eye Disease
Magnetic Pulses to Brain Improve Lazy Eye in Adults
FITNESS
Basketball Star Details His Struggle With Gout
You Can Get Great Exercise In The Garden
Will the Wii Keep You Fit?
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
GENERAL HEALTH
Swine Flu May Pose Problems for Pregnant Women
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
Be Healthy, Spend Less
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Too Much Red Meat May Shorten Life Span
Fewer Heart Attacks After England Goes Smoke-Free
Whole Grains Lower Risk of Heart Failure
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
Poor Restroom Cleaning Causes Cruise-Ship Sickness
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Wood Fires Can Harm the Youngest Lungs
3 Home Habits Help Youngsters Stay Slim
Music May Temper Pain in Preemies
MEN'S HEALTH
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
The Dark Side of Vegetarianism
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
MENTAL HEALTH
A Little Alcohol May Stave Off Alzheimer's
How to Attack Holiday Stress Head-On
Positive Brain Changes Seen After Body-Mind Meditation
PAIN
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
Exercise Boosts Bone Density in Breast-Feeding Moms
Yoga's Benefits Outweigh Risks for Pregnant Women
SENIORS
For a Healthier Retirement, Work a Little
Vitamin D May Help Keep Aging at Bay
Video Gaming Just Might Fight Aging
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Prenatal Stress May Boost Baby's Asthma Risk
Caffeine in Pregnancy Associated With Low Birth Weight Risk
Natural Relief for Painful Menstrual Cramps
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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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