Study Finds Eye Wrinkles Communicate Sincere Emotions

Eye wrinkles may be a dreaded part of aging and a target of Botox treatments. However, they actually serve a purpose, according to a recent study: communicating sincere emotions.

Researchers at Western University studied how our brains perceive wrinkles around the eyes. They believe that we are simply hardwired to trust the sincerity of expressions when we see, for example, crow’s feet around the eyes of someone smiling.

Lead study author Dr. Julio Martinez-Trujillo, a professor at the university’s School of Medicine & Dentistry, described the method used to test brain responses — visual rivalry — as a “window into the unconscious.”

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Changes to Well-Being or Appearance Likely in 2019, Per RealSelf Survey

A new survey conducted on behalf of RealSelf by The Harris Poll reveals that 82% of US adults plan to make changes related to their personal well-being and/or appearance in 2019.

Survey respondents note that they plan to exercise more (58%), eat healthier foods (55%), invest more in mental health (33%), and make greater efforts to lose weight (32%).

More than one-third (36%) of US adults are considering one or more cosmetic treatments in the next 12 months. This is more than 60% higher than those who report they have had a cosmetic procedure in the past (22%).

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SkinTE Aims to Provide Full-Thickness Skin Regeneration


The dozens of skin substitute products on the market today fall short of delivering what patients and providers have always wanted – the patient’s own skin. But now, this long-sought-after outcome is possible with a product called SkinTE.

Released in December 2017, SkinTE is currently being used on patients with acute and chronic burns, wounds, and contracting scars to replace, reconstruct, or supplement damaged or missing skin. SkinTE, which is made by activating the natural capabilities of a patient’s healthy skin sample, is a paste-like construct that is spread over a prepared wound bed and allowed to heal to full-thickness skin on the patient over time.

Unlike other treatment options, SkinTE regenerates skin with all of the layers and appendages of normal skin, which are critical for functional outcomes and improvement of patients’ lives.

SkinTE was developed by PolarityTE, a commercial-stage biotechnology and regenerative biomaterials company founded by plastic surgeons from Johns Hopkins Hospital who wanted to improve patient outcomes by bringing to market new therapies that challenge the long-standing standards of care within the healthcare industry. Thanks to these efforts, today, healthcare providers have a viable alternative to skin grafts and skin substitutes, with SkinTE.

To learn more about SkinTE and PolarityTE, visit

[Source: PolarityTE]

States with Fewer Melanoma Diagnoses May Have Higher Death Rates

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States. While the number of cases diagnosed is on the rise, the overall survival rate has improved, but survival is uneven across the country, according to a recent study.

Researchers at University of Utah Health conducted a state-by-state analysis to understand the geographic disparities for patients diagnosed with melanoma. The results of their study suggest that lower survival is associated with more practicing physicians in a region and higher population of Caucasians. The results were published recently in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

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Obalon Scores Funding on the Heels of Obesity Market Shift

Two new funding deals could give Obalon the added firepower needed for it to more effectively compete in the obesity treatment market.

The San Diego-based company said it has garnered $30 million from a stock purchase agreement with Lincoln Park Fund and an At-the-market equity sales agreement with Canaccord Genuity. The agreement with Lincoln Park Fund would net up to $20 million while the firm’s agreement with Canaccord Genuity could help bring in about $10 million.

Obalon said it could use the proceeds for sales and marketing costs, clinical studies, research and development costs, manufacturing development, the acquisition or licensing of other businesses or technologies, repayment and refinancing of debt, working capital and capital expenditures.

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Moisturizing Before and After Microneedling May Aid Healing

Using a multi-ingredient antiaging facial moisturizer before and after radiofrequency microneedling is associated with significant improvements in skin attributes, such as radiance, tone, and smoothness, according to study results published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology.

Researchers assessed the safety, tolerability, and efficacy of the multi‐ingredient antiaging face moisturizer (DEJ face cream) in an open-label clinical study. They evaluated women who used the moisturizer for 2 weeks, received a radiofrequency microneedling procedure, and then used the moisturizer again for another 4 weeks.

Clinical evaluations using the Glogau Wrinkle Scale, full‐face global skin attributes, and tolerability assessments were performed at each visit, and patient evaluations were completed at the final visit to assess procedure satisfaction. Data and pictures were collected at baseline, week 2, week 4, and week 6.

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Are Barriers Steering Minority Med Students Away from Dermatology?

Minority medical students perceived a number of factors as deterring them from pursuing careers in dermatology, according to survey results.

One was the current lack of diversity in dermatology, according to Yssra Soliman, BA, of Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx, New York, and colleagues in JAMA Dermatology. They noted that African-Americans and Hispanics each make up less than 5% of practicing dermatologists, far less than their proportions in the general population.

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Sarcoidosis Treatment May Be Within Reach, Researchers Suggest

An all-Yale team of researchers successfully treated a patient with disfiguring sarcoidosis, a chronic disease that can affect multiple organs, with a drug approved for rheumatoid arthritis.

Successful treatment of two other patients with similarly severe disease suggests an effective treatment for an incurable, sometimes life-threatening illness is within reach, the scientists said.

The research was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Sarcoidosis is an inflammatory disease that affects multiple organs in the body. While some sarcoidosis patients recover without treatment, others suffer damage to the lungs, heart, lymph nodes, skin, and other organs. Current treatments, including steroids, are not reliably effective for the skin and can cause serious side effects.

Based on clues gleaned from prior studies, the Yale team decided to try the arthritis medication tofacitinib. The drug, a Jak inhibitor, blocks a pathway known as Jak-STAT. The lead author, Brett King, M.D., has pioneered the use of Jak inhibitors to treat other intractable skin diseases, including vitiligo, alopecia areata, and eczema.

For several months, a 48-year-old female patient was treated with the drug, a twice-daily pill. The researchers observed that her skin lesions nearly disappeared. They also performed RNA sequencing on biopsied skin from the patient before and during treatment. “Before treatment, we were able to show that the Jak-STAT pathway is activated,” King said. “During treatment, not only does her skin disease go away, but there is no activation of the pathway.”

“We plan to evaluate the activation of the Jak-STAT pathway in the lung fluid and blood of over 200 patients with pulmonary and multiorgan sarcoidosis,” said co-author Nkiruka Emeagwali. These are big steps toward understanding a disease that has been a mystery for years, the researchers said.

The findings are being tested further by the Yale team in a clinical trial. If confirmed, they could represent a breakthrough for sarcoidosis patients, King noted.

“A frequently awful disease, which to date has no reliably effective therapy, may now be targeted with Jak inhibitors,” he said. “We have a relatively safe medicine that works.”

[Source(s): Yale University, EurekAlert]

Molecule Discovery Holds Promise for Gene Therapies for Psoriasis

Scientists have discovered a protein that could hold the key to novel gene therapies for skin problems including psoriasis – a common, chronic skin disease that affects over 100 million people worldwide.

The protein is a fragment of a larger molecule, called JARID2, which was previously believed to only be present in the developing embryo, where it coordinates the formation of tissues and organs.

However researchers led by Dr Aditi Kanhere from the University of Birmingham’s School of Biosciences found a shortened form of JARID2 in adult skin cells, and they showed it is responsible for ensuring these skin cells ‘differentiate’ (become a more specialised cell type).

They dubbed the newly discovered protein ΔN‐JARID2. The significance of this finding was immediately recognized by Dr Kanhere’s team, which studies how gene expression is regulated in normal and diseased conditions, explains a media release from University of Birmingham.

“In some diseases, cells lose their ability to differentiate, and reproduce more rapidly. Being able to redirect cells back to their usual life cycle could alleviate the processes behind the disease,” Kanhere explains in the release.

This is the case with psoriasis, which is caused by the rapid reproduction of skin cells. These excess cells are then pushed to the surface of the skin too quickly, resulting a build-up of cells that aren’t fully mature on the surface of the skin, and causing flaky, crusty red patches covered with silvery scales.

Kanhere’s research, published recently in EMBO Journal, shows that ΔN‐JARID2 is present in the skin layers, where it is where it is responsible for ensuring that the tissues maintain their usual state of differentiation which is necessary to properly form skin layers.

The discovery has caught the eye of the patenting team at University of Birmingham Enterprise, who filed a broad-based patent covering the use of ΔN‐JARID2 in therapies aimed towards conditions caused by hyper-proliferation of skin cells such as psoriasis.

The research team is now investigating how ΔN‐JARID2 is generated and its wider implication in disease, while the patenting team hopes that this discovery will ultimately lead to novel therapies for skin conditions, the release continues.

[Source(s): University of Birmingham, Science Daily]

Investigational Cream May Help Treat Atopic Dermatitis, Study Notes

A study published in the British Journal of Dermatology indicates that an investigational nonsteroidal topical cream (PAC-14028) may be effective for treating atopic dermatitis, one of the most common inflammatory skin diseases.

The trial involved a cream that blocks the transient receptor potential vanilloid subfamily, member 1, an ion channel involved in the perception of pain. This channel also contributes to inflammation and itchy skin in patients with atopic dermatitis.

In the 8-week, randomized, double-blind, multicentre, study that enrolled 194 adults with mild to moderate atopic dermatitis, the cream improved clinical symptoms and signs with a favourable safety profile.

According to the authors, a phase III clinical trial is underway to test if the topical medicine is safe and effective in teens and adults, explains a media release from Wiley.

[Source(s): Wiley, EurekAlert]