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Family Medicine Article and Summary

This article assesses the efficacy of indoor salt water baths followed by artificial UVB exposure for the treatment of chronic plaque psoriasis.

Here is a summary of the article:

This is a Cochrane Review based on eight RCTs with a total of 1,976 participants. The participants included both males and females, with ages ranging from 41-50 years. 

The results showed that salt water baths with artificial UVB light may improve psoriasis in patients with chronic plaque psoriasis. The study also noted that there were no significant adverse events reported. The positive results are based on at least a 75% reduction in  Psoriasis Area and Severity Index (PASI-75) score. The adverse events were judged by whether they were severe enough to require a participant to drop out of the study.

The study did note limitations which caused the certainty of the evidence to be rated as “low.” These included inadequate blinding and high probability of publication bias in a few of the trials. For example, three studies were sponsored by commercial spa and bath salt companies, who would certainly have an interest in results that indicated that bath salts are effective at reducing symptoms of psoriasis. 

I found this study important because chronic plaque psoriasis is a skin disease that affects many patients worldwide. The silvery scales that are indicative of this inflammatory skin disorder can impair patients’ quality of life and even harm their social interactions. While there is history to suggest that bathing in the Dead Sea, which has a high salt content, can improve these lesions, that is not a practical solution for most patients. Therefore, I was interested to see whether an “at home” salt bath and UVB light exposure would be a valid treatment option. The results seem to indicate that it may possibly be helpful for patients, there is currently not enough high-quality research to indicate that it is certainly effective. 

Here is the article: