I was going to post some of my research on yet another non toxic anti-MM substance today, but that will have to wait because this morning I read a bit of interesting news about rosacea. As I have mentioned in a previous post, I have this facial skin disorder, which used to bother me a lot but now troubles me much less. Having cancer can give you a different perspective on things that used to matter, like appearance. Not that my appearance doesn’t matter to me, but you know what I mean! Anyway, I read this morning that 14 million U.S. citizens have rosacea. That is not just a handful of people, is it? This condition can have a real effect on your social and professional relations, as exemplified in this excerpt from the National Rosacea Society’s homepage: In recent surveys by the National Rosacea Society, nearly 70 percent of rosacea patients said this condition had lowered their self-confidence and self-esteem, and 41 percent reported it had caused them to avoid public contact or cancel social engagements. Among rosacea patients with severe symptoms, nearly 70 percent said the disorder had adversely affected their professional interactions, and nearly 30 percent said they had even missed work because of their condition. So, you see, having rosacea is no fun. It’s a real nuisance. I confess that I still put on a bit of makeup when I go to work; the rest of the time, I simply forget about it. Just about anything can trigger a flare-up: heat, cold, any change in temperature, stress, exercise, spicy foods (so I have read, at any rate, but that is not my case), embarrassment, and probably coffee. Concerning the last item, I have regular flare-ups after drinking my morning coffee. But hey, what is a little redness compared to the pleasure of drinking a glorious hot cappuccino first thing in the morning? 🙂
But let me start approaching the point of my post. What causes rosacea? The National Rosacea Society’s homepage states that the cause is unknown. And in fact, in the past, whenever I tried looking this up, I’d find heaps of could be this and could be that, but nothing conclusive. Until today. A study, titled Increased serine protease activity and cathelicidin promotes skin inflammation in rosacea and published in the August issue of Nature Medicine, has apparently identified THE CAUSE: an overproduction of two interactive inflammatory proteins leads to excessive levels of a third protein that makes your face turn as red and blotchy as that of an adolescent. (Indeed, I have always wondered if my MM could be connected to this chronic inflammatory condition.) The study has been published so recently that I was unable even to locate and read the abstract. However, I read several online news reports providing enough details, so for now that should suffice. The two above-mentioned overactive proteins are called SCTE (stratum corneum tryptic enzymes) and cathelicidin, which under normal circumstances protect the skin from getting infected etc. But it turns out that we rosacea folks have higher levels of these proteins in our facial skin than regular folks. And these two proteins happen to be the precursors of the rosacea-causing peptides, which are small proteins present in our immune system. Too much of one thing can be harmful, I guess (unless, of course, the “thing” is chocolate! ;-)). However, this (in a way!) is great news. It means no more antibiotics, no more antibiotic creams (which never seemed to work anyway), because rosacea apparently is NOT caused by bacteria but by an overzealous immune system response. So if we can manage to inhibit these enzymes/proteins/peptides, whatever you want to call them, we should be all set. Oh wait, I just read that H. pylori is implicated in the development of rosacea. Well, well. So my research is not even half-finished. And what if wait a sec!, let’s see: rosacea may be caused by an excessive immune system response and may be linked to H. pylori, which in turn may be linked to MGUS hmmmm, ok, I need to connect a few of these dots but this is enough for today.
Today, by the way, is my parents’ 53rd wedding anniversary. How about that? Congratulations, Mom and Dad! I love you!
Tomorrow Stefano and I are going off on our summer holiday (we will be in southern Italy, near Naples). We will be gone for two weeks, but I will still have access to the Internet, my blog and e-mail. I probably won’t be posting much, other than holiday photos but after all a holiday is a holiday. 😉