In a struggle to develop effective treatments for Alzheimer's, a team of researchers found that skin hydration could reduce the risks of developing dementia. Researchers at UC San Francisco made the announcement this week, explaining that the skin could trigger a body-level inflammation that has been linked to numerous chronic diseases that result from aging.
Do you want to avoid developing these conditions? A good step would be to invest in a good moisturizer, which could help reduce inflammation levels and potentially prevent age-related diseases, according to a new study published in the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology.
With advancing age, it is normal for the body to manifest low levels of inflammation caused by an increase in molecules called cytokines. The researchers believe that this age-related inflammation can trigger chronic diseases like Alzheimer's disease, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
In the beginning, scientists thought that the inflammation could be related to the immune system, but now they think there is another culprit – the largest organ in the body.
"The inflammation must come from a large enough organ that a very mild inflammation can affect the entire body and the skin is a good candidate because of its size," he said. senior of the Mao-Qiang Man study of the UCSF Department of Dermatology.
"Once we age, we have dermatological symptoms such as itching, dryness and acidity changes: it could be that the skin has a very mild inflammation, and since it is such a large organ that elevates circulating levels of cytokines."
As we age, our skin begins to lose moisture and there is a deterioration of the permeability barrier, which keeps water and bacteria and other pathogens. The combination of the two factors causes the release of inflammatory cytokines and eventually reach the bloodstream.
The lead author of the study, Theodora Mauro, explained that, theoretically, there may be profound health effects if the inflammation is controlled through proper skin care. Scientists have decided to put this theory to the test.
In the trial study, 33 older adults were given an over-the-counter skin cream that was formulated to help reverse age-related skin damage and stimulate skin repair. The study participants, aged 58 to 95, applied the cream over their entire body twice a day for 30 days.
The researchers found that the cream actually reduced cytokine levels to almost the equivalent of 30-year-olds. In addition, the cream has also improved the hydration of the skin, lowered the pH and repaired the permeability barrier.
Armed with these findings, the scientists said they intend to conduct a longer and broader study to see if lowering the levels of cytokines with the cream can delay or prevent inflammatory diseases related to age.
"We're going to see if using the cream to maintain normal epidermal function as people get older will prevent the development of those downstream diseases," said UCSF co-author Peter Elias. "If we did, the implication would be that after age 50, you would want to apply an effective preparation of topical barrier repair every day for the rest of your life."
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