Call for further psoriasis study participants (Vitamin D)

Twelve more participants from any ethnicity are needed for a study on the effects of vitamin D on psoriasis, being run at Massey University.

The study, managed by PhD student Michelle Ingram and funded by Lottery Health Research, is investigating the benefits of taking vitamin D supplements in the treatment of psoriasis.

Psoriasis is a chronic, non-contagious inflammatory disease of the skin, with an estimated one in 50 adults in New Zealand living with the condition.

“Traditional treatment of psoriasis can include topical lotions, creams, pills or injections, or phototherapy – which uses light to treat the condition,” Ms Ingram says. “They can be inconvenient, expensive, and increase the risk of other health problems. If we can determine the benefits of taking vitamin D supplements, this could give people with psoriasis another option for treatment.”

Plaque-based psoriasis is the most common type, and while it can be managed, there is no known cure.

“Anyone can have psoriasis – it isn’t restricted to any ethnicity or age group,” she says.

For the trial, 112 Auckland-based psoriasis sufferers aged 18 or older, with plaque-type psoriasis in ‘active phase’ and stable for the past two months, are needed. Volunteers must meet certain criteria and be able to attend five appointments at the Albany-based Human Nutrition Research Unit for assessments and samples over a one-year period. They don’t need to have a doctor’s referral and will be screened by a dermatologist before being accepted to the trial.

“With the diverse population in Auckland, we would welcome people from all ethnicities to volunteer for this study. We currently have 100 participants enrolled, but we need an additional 12 to sign up now so the study can run to schedule,” Ms Ingram says.

The Vitamin D Research Centre at the Institute of Food, Nutrition and Human Health, forms part of Massey’s new College of Health, which was formally opened last week. It will focus on illness and injury prevention rather than cure. The college will bring together specialists from fields ranging from food and nutrition, sport and exercise, rehabilitation, nursing, Māori and Pasifika health, public health, social work, health and safety, as well as researching the social and economic factors that underpin health and wellbeing.

For further information on the trial, or to register your interest, go to: http://psoriasis.massey.ac.nz

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