Patients & Visitors

Dermatology Clinic

Research

As a department, we are involved in several studies into skin disease and its treatment. Members of the nursing staff, collaborating with Dr Chris Lovell and Prof S Skevington (Dept of Social Sciences, Bath University), have undertaken a large study on the quality of life in patients with psoriasis. This showed that psoriasis significantly reduces an individual's quality of life, and demonstrated considerable improvement after a course of outpatient treatment. The study was published recently in the British Journal of Dermatology.

Building on this collaboration with Prof Skevington and colleagues, Drs Emily McGrath, Amrit Darvay and Chris Lovell are currently using Quality of Life measures to study the psychological effects often caused by acne. There is concern that isotretinoin, a powerful and highly effective treatment for acne, can sometimes cause depressive symptoms in its own right. We are using Quality of Life measures and depression scores to monitor a group of patients on this treatment, compared with a group on other treatments for acne and a control group of students.

We have a strong clinical and research link with colleagues at the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases. Many conditions affect both skin and joints. We have collaborated on studies on joint involvement in psoriasis. Systemic sclerosis causes thickening of the skin, as well as internal complications. Under Dr Lovell's supervision, Dr Marsha Ostroumova has designed a questionnaire study investigating the frequency of itching in this condition. Localised scleroderma (Morphoea) can cause significant deformity, particularly in children. Dr Lindsay Shaw is undertaking a long-term study, measuring the heat output from inflamed skin lesions using Laser Doppler Flowmetry. We believe that this technique may predict clinical signs of worsening of the condition, helping us to plan whether or not to treat with powerful anti-inflammatory drugs.

Dr Lovell is collaborating with Prof Rex Tyrrell and colleagues at Bath University in a study of haem oxygenase levels in the blood of patients with psoriasis. Haem oxygenase appears to play an important part in the development of skin changes in the condition, and this study may help in designing more specific targetted treatment in the future.

We are most grateful to the many patients who have kindly consented to help us with our research projects to date, and to those who have contributed financially to our research fund.

Dr Chris Lovell


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