Zapping Psoriasis

An estimated 6.5 million Americans suffer from psoriasis… a disorder which produces red patches and thick, dry scales on the skin. The unsightly condition can be a source of both emotional and physical discomfort.

Six year old Evan has psoriasis, a skin disease that’s rare in someone his age. Most of his body is covered with red, scaly patches.

Evan, six-year-old:
“Well, it just looks bad.”

Kathy, mother:
“The hardest part is when he tells me he wants to be like everyone else. Because I can’t do that.”

Armed with his favorite toy, Evan is hoping for some “high-tech” relief.

Using the same laser they use for port-wine birthmarks, doctors zap the red patches on Evan’s arms and legs. Other treatments for psoriasis include steroids or ultraviolet light therapy. They provide only temporary relief and cause side effects. Laser therapy has no side effects and may permanently clear up symptoms.

Evan’s Doctor:
“If we have found here a, essentially, risk free treatment, he is going to benefit tremendously when it comes to adulthood.”

Under the red patches of skin, there are an abnormally high number of blood vessels. The laser directs powerful pulses of light which lock on to the red color in those vessels and cause a heat reaction.

Evan’s Doctor:
“That heat causes those vessels to seal down and shut down.”

Evan has already experienced a big improvement after just one treatment. Doctors say lasers may be the key to providing relief without risk.

Doctors emphasize that laser therapy is not a cure for psoriasis, but it will successfully treat the symptoms. They expect a fifty percent improvement in redness and itching after just one treatment and an end to such symptoms after three or four laser sessions.

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