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Editor's e-Note
Significant numbers of Americans suffer from eczema. Estimates place the number at 31.6 million, according to the National Eczema Association. It’s thought that as many as 10.2% of adults have eczema, with 3% suffering from moderate to severe eczema or atopic dermatitis. Recent discovery of a specific gene mutation may open the door to a new treatment strategy.

In addition to reading our e-newsletter, be sure to visit Today’s Geriatric Medicine’s website at, where you’ll find news and information that’s relevant and reliable. We welcome your feedback at Follow Today’s Geriatric Medicine on Facebook and Twitter, too.

Barbara Worthington, editor
e-News Exclusive
Gene Mutations Suggest Potential Treatment Strategy for Severe Eczema

Relentless flaky, itchy, bumpy, dry skin is a daily issue for people with eczema. Also known as atopic dermatitis, eczema is an inflammatory skin condition. It affects an estimated 30% of the US population, mostly children and adolescents. Severe atopic dermatitis is a less common form of eczema that can be severely debilitating and may be accompanied by frequent infections and severe immune system defects.

A team of scientists led by Joshua D. Milner, MD, SB, at the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Erwin W. Gelfand, MD, at National Jewish Health in Denver, and Andrew L. Snow, PhD, at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland, studied the genetics of patients with severe atopic dermatitis. The results appear in the August edition of Nature Genetics.

Using whole-exome sequencing, the researchers found mutations in four patients in a gene called CARD11. None of these mutations was previously known. Other affected family members had the mutations as well, for a total of eight patients.

CARD11 is a signaling protein that helps activate immune system cells called T cells. The protein participates in two important signaling pathways in these cells: the NF-κB and mTORC1 pathways. The CARD11 mutations all had similar effects in T cells; they interfered with activation of both pathways. The mutant forms of CARD11 had a dominant effect. This means they interfered with the pathways even when normal forms of the protein were present.

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In this e-Newsletter
Other Geriatrics News
When Are Doctors Too Old to Practice?
How old is too old to practice medicine? An article in The Wall Street Journal notes that some hospital systems are attempting to ascertain physicians’ fitness by requiring controversial testing after a particular age.

These Boxers Fight Parkinson’s Disease With Hooks, Jabs, and Uppercuts
Boxing as therapy for Parkinson’s disease patients improves patients’ strength, coordination, and body control, according to an article in North Carolina’s News & Observer.

Seniors Miss Out on Clinical Trials
An article online at Kaiser Health News notes that older adults represent only a small percentage of individuals enrolled in clinical trials nationwide.

Renewed Shingles Vaccine Efforts Hold Promise for Elder Population
An article in The Philadelphia Inquirer suggests that rates of shingles immunization among older adults may improve with the introduction of a newly formulated vaccine.
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IAGG Conference Wrap-Up
Bridging Science, Policy, Practice
By Barbara Worthington

The IAGG World Congress, held July 23–27 in San Francisco, was designed to promote high levels of achievement in gerontological and geriatrics research and training worldwide, offering practical solutions to problems specific to older adults. The gathering attracted more than 6,000 attendees from all over the world, with clinicians and researchers from the United States, Canada, Japan, Sweden, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Brazil, Colombia, the Netherlands, Ghana, Mexico, and numerous other countries.

The theme “Global Aging and Health: Bridging Science, Policy and Practice” brought together aging experts in the fields of medicine, nursing, biological science, social science, caregiving, and health care policy to address ways of improving older adults’ quality of life. The scope of the conference was impressive. While sessions and presentations spanned areas including medicine, nursing, behavioral science, interdisciplinary topics, and geriatrics, if there was a single topic that garnered the greatest interest, it was dementia/Alzheimer’s disease.

Full story »
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Tech & Tools
MobileDefender Model S
The MobileDefender Model S, an individualized emergency response and monitoring system, can be used on the go, promoting older adults’ activity and mobility. With fall advisory capabilities and industry-leading location accuracy, the system helps to maintain independence. Integrated Bluetooth enables integration with wireless health monitoring systems. The system provides global GPS services and is able to withstand extreme conditions and uses. Learn more »

Throat Scope
Throat Scope, marketed as the world’s first lighted tongue depressor, has been released from Holland Healthcare. Providers attach the depressor to the handle to automatically activate the light and visualize the throat. The illumination of the throat and mouth creates an easier and faster exam. In addition to investigating mouth sores, it also can help in oral cancer screening. Easy to use, Throat Scope allows for fast and accurate examinations. It can be used to examine throats, teeth, articulation therapy, and oral cavity examinations. Learn more »
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