Breakthroughs -Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine Podcast w/ Dr. Jonathan Silverberg

A great podcast with Dr. Jonathan Silverberg who specializes in treating some of the toughest cases of eczema.

Here are some new discoveries about eczema:

  • People with atopic dermatitis have significantly higher rates of medical and mental health issues.
  • 13% of children and 7% of adults suffer from eczema (US)
  • During childhood – boys tend to have eczema more than girls
  • Around age 5 and up it becomes more common in girls/women
  • African American children are twice as likely to get eczema
  • Higher rates of eczema in Urban areas
  • Those that live on farms have a significantly lower risk
  • Eczema is about a pattern – an irreversible pattern
  • He believes eczema is an autoimmune issue because the immune system is wired to produce more inflammation
  • Having a severe itch is one of the most debilitating symptoms – maybe even more burdensome to severe pain
  • When patients itch, they don’t sleep well – this leads to more problems
  • There’s a component of skin pain in addition to the itching

“This is a different scenario, we have to step up our treatments” ~ Dr. Jonathan Silverberg

  • New discoveries show that eczema might be the cause of allergies – as the skin barrier is weakened and allows allergens to penetrate and trigger an allergy in the immune system
  • Severe eczema early on in life – can really lead to harsher allergies as the patient gets older <– they are trying to figure out ways to prevent this

The mental health symptoms are actually symptoms of the eczema. So the same way I think of itch as a symptoms of eczema or pain as a symptom of eczema. I actually think of depression and anxiety as a symptom of eczema. Because for the most part, when you get really good control of their disease – those actually get better too! ~ Dr. Jonathan Silverberg

  • Are starting to focus on adults with eczema – and livability
  • 100% Out of the Adult Patients in a survey who had severe eczema had suffered from depression and anxiety scores
  • This is a VERY STRONG STATEMENT – patients feel isolated. Especially because they aren’t asked about it
  • Mental health is incredibly common – even in mild cases
  • Talks about how doctors might not know what to do with this information – as they are dermatologists and not therapists
  • Best to help manage the disease – once you do that the mental health gets so much better over time
  • Find a good moisturizer
  • Bleach baths are still highly controversial – mixed and conflicting results
  • In the past doctors told patients not to take too many showers or baths a week – this affected patients in their personal lives.
  • Turns out that baths and showers can actually help your condition – especially if you moisturize right after
  • Bleach baths don’t kill staph – only high levels which are extremely dangerous to patients and not recommend as a treatment
  • It’s hard to navigate moisturizers for patients as there are too many products.
  • Recommends petroleum jelly – vaseline (not sure about this)
  • During a flare – cold creams are soothing, put the moisturizer in the fridge to make it more tolerable
  • There’s a conference called RAD or Revolutionizing Atopic Dermatitis dedicated to treatment options – topical, oral, and injectables
  • People from all over will be flown in to discuss the latest eczema news
  • Will be going over the major questions dealing with eczema – so they thought it would be best to have a conference addressing this
  • He had eczema as a kid, which is why he’s so passionate about it
  • During the Chicago winters, his skin flares up
  • He studied it and became fascinated by it, as no two cases look alike
  • Amazing impact on the lives of people treated is worth it
  • They’re saying this is the decade of eczema – a renaissance of research in the eczema field


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