Johns Hopkins researchers report that prurigo nodularis (PN), a skin disease characterize by severely itchy; firm bumps on the skin; may be associated with other inflammatory skin disorders as well as systemic and mental health disorders. Compare with other skin diseases, however, not much is known about PN. While symptoms of PN can be manage, no cures exist. Researchers were looking to determine associated conditions that are more common in patients with PN; compare with similar patients without PN.
Health issues in families
While skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema are know to be cause by an overactive immune system; the underlying molecular cause of PN remains unknown because; so the disease has understudy. Kwatra and colleagues then sought to learn more by first estimating how prevalent PN is in the United States.
As a starting point, Kwatra and team analyze one of the largest national databases of insurance data in the U.S. (IBM MarketScan Commercial Claims and Encounters) between October 2015 and December 2016. They identified patients 18-64 years old with medical insurance who presented two or more insurance claims relating to PN; maintain for three months or more; also compare them with patients without PN, patients with atopic dermatitis and patients with psoriasis.
Additional studies are ongoing by Kwatra’s group to understand the molecular explanation of PN. Further research is need to clarify how chronic conditions such as atopic dermatitis, HIV, renal impairment and mental health conditions may contribute to the development of PN. “With such a large population of people who have this neglect disease; they’ve only scratch the surface and are happy to take the lead with investigating this understudied condition,” Kwatra says.