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A new UCSF pilot study has a simple suggestion for treatment to fend off serious age-related problems such as Alzheimer's, diabetes and heart disease. The best part?
Tandem university researchers with the San Francisco Veterans Administration (VA) Health Care System now have reason to believe that skin inflammation may favor the development of more chronic diseases and a way to help solve the problem is applying a reparative moisturizing cream.
The authors of the study write that when the skin begins to lose moisture and deteriorates around the age of 50, it begins to experience a break in the "permeability barrier". The barrier is intended both to maintain water in the body and to act as a shield against sinister pathogens outside our bodies.
RELATED: More than 120,000 Bay Area residents spend at least 3 hours commuting every day, says the study  When this barrier weakens with age due to moisture loss, it releases cytokines (a kind of protein released by the cells of the immune system) to signal inflammation in areas of the skin affected by age. Typically, these cytokines are meant to help repair the barrier, but older skin requires more effort to fixate, the researchers write, so the skin repeatedly releases these "inflammatory signals". Eventually, cytokines can leak into the blood, potentially causing inflammation all over the body.
Previously, researchers did not suspect that skin could be the cause of these diseases, but more recent studies have indicated the possibility that skin inflammation can be to blame for heart disease.
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"The inflammation must come from a large enough organ that a very mild inflammation can affect the entire body." The skin is a good candidate for this because of its size, "said the senior author of the study. Qiang Man." 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 because it is such a large organ, it elevates the circulating levels of cytokines. "
The UCSF was conducted a study with 33 adults aged 58 to 95 years. received a type of moisturizer that the researchers had noted for its relationship between three lipids known to be beneficial to skin health.The participants were directed to apply the moisturizer all over the body twice a day for a month, after doctors found that their cytokine levels "were almost equivalent to those of 30 years, suggesting that skin rejuvenation can reverse" the aging of inflammation ". "
Next, scientists will follow their initial findings with a longer term study to test the effects of moisturizer application. If the results are similar, it can confirm that the application of reparative moisturizer can be an effective way to ward off chronic illnesses.
Alyssa Pereira is an SFGATE staff writer. .