Some photos in psoriasis study hinder understanding of disease

Newswise – Very few patients with psoriasis are depicted in scientific articles – only a few of the patients included in the research are depicted in images. This has come to light from a study by researchers from Gothenburg University in Sweden and Copenhagen University in Denmark. According to the researchers, the lack of images complicates communication with patients.

For this systematic review article, researchers counted images of patients in 152 different randomized scientific studies focusing on biologic drug treatment outcomes in psoriasis, which were published over a period of twenty years (2001-2021) . A total of 62,871 patients were included in these studies.

The results have been published in Journal of Dermatology Treatment. Most studies (77 percent) did not include any patient images. Overall, the scientific manuscripts, along with all available supplementary material, contained a total of 203 images depicting 60 patients. This results in an image sharing rate of less than one per thousand across all patients included in the study.

The effect of the treatment is visible

Associate Professor Sam Polesi of Sahlgrenska Academy – Faculty of Medicine, University of Gothenburg led the study. Polesi, a dermatologist at Sahlgrenska University Hospital, argues that sharing images is an exceptionally effective way to show the effect of various treatments on patients, especially for inflammatory skin diseases. One of the most prevalent of them, psoriasis, has a lifetime prevalence of 2-3%.

“Patients often find it challenging to understand the basic messages of scientific manuscripts. Clinical outcomes are often described in PASI values, which is a composite score for redness, scaling, duration, and distribution over predefined body areas. If dermatology researcher Sam Polesi says, “Including more clinical images in your manuscripts will improve patients’ understanding of expected treatment effects.”

chronic systemic disease

Psoriasis is a chronic immune-mediated inflammatory systemic disease characterized by red and scaly plaques. Disease severity varies from mild to severe, with patients suffering from moderate to severe symptoms being primary candidates for advanced systemic therapies. Over the past twenty years, biologic medications have been introduced. Despite significant reductions in the cost of many of these drugs due to patent expiration and the introduction of biosimilars, the societal impact remains substantial.

Researchers acknowledge that health care professionals, rather than patients, are primarily the target audience of scientific publications. However, they emphasize that patients’ right to shared decision-making has become increasingly important in today’s health care landscape. Healthcare is undergoing a paradigm shift that highlights the need to bridge the gap between complex research and patients’ understanding.

Sam Polesi again:

“We hope that this systematic review can serve as an invitation to the pharmaceutical industry and other sponsors, as well as journal editors and authors, to include more images in scientific publications. Including images may better support patient participation.”

(TagstoTranslate)Newswise(T)Psoriasis;Research Impact;Health and Medicine;Skin;Clinical Research(T)Dermatology(T)Health Care(T)All Journal News(T)University of Gothenburg

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