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May-June 2009 Briefing

Click here for a directory of past Briefings

In This Briefing:
FlakeHQ Interviews: Bruce Bebo, Ph.D.; Director of research and medical programs for the National Psoriasis Foundation
Raptiva and Methotrexate Dominate this Update’s Mail
Flaker Creativity
July-August 2009 Hiatus for Ed and FlakeHQ


FlakeHQ Interviews: Bruce Bebo, Ph.D.; Director of research and medical programs for the National Psoriasis Foundation

For a second update in a row, the May-June FlakeHQ interview is with a new executive at the National Psoriasis Foundation (the last update featured Catie Coman Drector of Communications at the Foundation). Bruce Bebo assumed the research helm at the Foundation in 2008. He brought with him a most-welcome background (academic and post-academic) in immunology.

As regular readers know, I've had a burr under my saddle for some time about the immunological aspects of psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis being "beyond the kin" of dermatology as practiced for psoriasis -- at the same time evidence continues to pile up making our immune systems the primary culprit in our disease. I've wondered in writing why it's so hard to find an "immunologist doctor." I'm not linking you back to those tirades because Dr. Bebo answers those questions in this interview. (My grandfather used to say, "Someone who reveals your own stupidity, but does so without malice, is a friend." Bruce Bebo is likely to get a Christmas card from me.)

In his interview, Bebo describes what the medical and research office at the National Psoriasis Foundation does and that information made me feel good. He talks about the Foundation's direct contribution to research-toward-a-cure and that made me feel even better.

I hope you will enjoy reading the interview as much as I enjoyed receiving the answers to my questions.

 

Raptiva and Methotrexate Dominate this Update’s Mail

Not surprisingly, FlakeHQ received a number of emails over the past half-dozen weeks about Raptiva’s removal from the U.S. market. Three exchanges are reproduced here. Daryl C. in “Biologics Make Him Yearn for Natural Remedies” remembers thinking about biologics but not actually trying them. Nonetheless, he’s followed headlines for awhile and theorizes 3 “points of view” regarding biologics. Josh J. lost his father, age 46 at the time of his death and who had been taking Raptiva since 2005. He believes the massive infection that killed his father flourished because his immune system function was too suppressed by his years of using the biologic. Sharlene V. has been on Raptiva for over 3 years with complete clearing as a result. She finds the announced unavailability of Raptiva after June 8th devastating. She wonders how bad her rebound is likely to be.

Evidently FlakeHQ.com is one of the few sites on the net where depression as a side effect of methotrexate is taken seriously. Numerous posts on this subject are in the archive and manage to draw more as concerned folks around the world search the web using “methotrexate and depression” as their search criteria. Two more exchanges in this update expand the boundaries of our growing collection about methorexate’s psychological impact. Kat B. combined methotrexate and Prednisolone as prescribed and became suicidal. KJK’s husband has experienced anxiety, panic attacks and thoughts of suicide while using methotrexate.

On a different note, Richard K. is pleased to point out the American distributor of Taclonex (betamethasone dipropionate and calcipotriene) has a steep discount program available for folks who are likely to walk away from three-digit co-pays.

 

Flaker Creativity

Some of you no doubt caught the widely syndicated story in February about health researchers finding a way to turn skin cells into stem cells that could then regenerate heart muscle. (Google "growing heart cells from skin cells" to find lots of repos of this news story.) ... Well, poet Sherry Sheehan has taken that idea added a dash of psoriasis and come up with a poem I'd want to read aloud in front of my biology class (if I still HAD a biology class). Don't miss "Celluar Conversion." Start at Flaker Creativity, or jump straight to the Sherry Sheehan page, or if you're tremendously pressed for time right now, here's the poem itself.

 

July-August 2009 Hiatus for Ed and FlakeHQ

I won’t be posting an update for July-August this year. For the first time in over a decade I’m going to spend this time concentrating on FlakeHQ structure and mechanics. I’m not going to list the changes being planned because I don’t want to disappoint if some of them don’t materialize. Hopefully you will be pleasantly surprised when you visit FlakeHQ in September.

(Note: The site won’t be disabled at any time – at least, not on purpose! So feel free to visit as frequently as you want all summer long.) -Ed

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