Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Eczema, a family affair

Did I mention that eczema runs in my family? Those that I know for sure have it, or had it, are my father's father (deceased), whose scratching and ill temper were legendary; a cousin; my sister; me; and my daughter Voov.

My grandfather was a sea cook and a veteran of World War I. His life was hard and eczema didn't make it any easier. Then eczema skipped a generation, fortunately for my parents, and in the interim science and medicine made great improvements in emollients and steroids. We've had it much better than he did. But let's not have the impression the problem is solved. I believe some day we'll have complete control over the demon itch.

Our family probably shares a filaggrin mutation. Ten years from now, when you can get your genome sequenced for a hundred dollars, I bet that's what we're going to find. In future posts I'm going to explore what filaggrin does, or in our case doesn't do, for skin. And I'm going to ask the scientists studying filaggrin how they think their discoveries might lead to therapies or cures.

This blog is soon going to become, like eczema, a family affair. I've invited my sister to contribute posts. She's a resident or whatever you call someone who is undergoing the legalized hazing that the medical establishment enjoys inflicting after you graduate with an MD. She'll add medical legitimacy. She gets to pick her own moniker--hopefully not something to do with ferrets (she doesn't have kids at the moment, just pet ferrets). Until then, I'll call her Dr. Sis.

Dr. Sis lives in Newfoundland. So this blog is a California-Newfoundland axis. We can speak with authority on both endless summer and endless winter. The mind boggles to realize that the two regions share a continent and a language--though the latter is debatable, if you've ever met a real Newfie.

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