Skin transplants offer new hope to Vitiligo patients

Researchers at the Henry Ford hospital transferred healthy skin cells, taken from normally-pigmented areas of the body, to the damaged area of their skin which had lost color due to the condition. After the surgery, the team followed 32 patients for up to six months and found that the treated area regained on average 52 percent of its natural color. The surgery is known as melanocyte-keratinocyte transplantation (MKTP).
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The report, presented at the 68th Annual American Academy of Dermatology meeting in Miami, said that in some patients with specific type of vitiligo, the treated area regained on average 74 percent of its natural skin color.

Senior author of the study and a senior staff physician in Henry Ford’s Department of Dermatology Iltefat Hazavi said, “This surgery offers hope to vitiligo patients. The results achieved in our study were of obvious significance to our patients.”

Maxine Whitton, patron of the Vitiligo Society, said “We need more studies using this technique including well-designed randomized controlled trials comparing this technique with other surgical interventions such as grafting.”

Celebrities who suffer from vitiligo include Michael Jackson.

Other skin diseases celebrities suffer from include acne (Cameron Diaz) and eczema (LeAnn Rimes).

Image: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Vitiligo03.jpg; Author: Produnis

Did Michael Jackson’s addiction kill him?

The circumstances surrounding the death of pop superstar Michael Jackson are still unclear and as the investigation continues, details about the musician’s life are consistantly revealed. Jackson was reportedly addicted to many forms of painkillers, and the injection of one, Propofol, proved fatal. (what is propofol? Click here to find out.)

Michael Jackson’s personal physician, Dr. Conrad Murray, is at the center of the investigation, which is now being treated as a homicide. According to spokesmen from the Los Angeles Police Department, it is alleged that Dr. Murray injected Jackson with Propofol after he complained he couldn’t sleep.

Pending the official autopsy, the release date of which has been delayed indefinitely, many are already certain the superstar did not die of natural causes. His mother, Katherine Jackson, told TMZ.com: “My son is dead and I don’t think he just died of natural causes. He’s too young. Something happened.”

According to TMZ.com, which cites several police officials as sources, Michael Jackson spent the last night of his life in Dr. Conrad Murray’s bedroom at his Los Angeles home, because he did not want people intruding. Police officers also said it was possible that Jackson went into Murray’s bedroom every night to obtain his dosage of Propofol to help him sleep.

Fresh information from the investigation reveals police believe Michael Jackson harmed himself in order to get the medication he wanted. “He’d bang his head against the wall, hit his fists and arms against furniture, anything to cause a cut or bruise.

“He wanted to convince his doctors that he’d had an accident and was in a lot of pain – a legitimate reason to ask for painkillers,” a source close to the family said. According to reports it became worse as Michael was preparing for his 50-show ‘This Is It’ residency in London.

It seems as though Jackson was plagued with sleepness nights for years, with his apparent sedative and pain-killer addiction going back numerous years. Some even claim the addiction began in 1984, when Jackson’s head accidentally caught fire while filming a Pepsi commercial. The skin on his scalp was severely seared, and Jackson was prescribed strong pain killers to cope with the pain, from which many believe – and the media has reported- his addiction could have begun.

Michael Jackson had a difficult childhood. He was pushed onto the international stage and forced to perform by his father, who, it is claimed, also repeatedly physically abused him. After spending 20 years as an international superstar, little signs of Jackson’s cracked psyche began to appear. He had the Neverland Ranch built, to which he constantly invited young boys (whom he called his friends) for sleepovers.

In 1993 Jackson faced his first sexual abuse allegation. Jordan Chandler (13) and his father claimed Jackson had abused the youth, a claim Jackson was hugely humiliated by. His public image took a severe beating, especially when his sister La Toya also alleged he was a pedophile, even after other children who had spent the night at Neverland Ranch were adamant he wasn’t. She later retracted the statement.

A second round of sexual abuse allegations in 2003 further weakened the superstar’s morale. He retracted further and further from the limelight, during which time he was apparently succumbing more and more to his addictions, fueled by physicians – such as Dr. Conrad Murray, perhaps – who gave in to the star’s wishes and regularly satisfied his medical cravings.

In the end, we are all waiting for the official autopsy to give us an official cause of death. But in our hearts we already know the greatest performer who ever lived, who so often seemed supernatural, so above it all, was just a human being after all, one with weaknesses. And his weaknesses ended up killing him.

VitiligoA myriad of medicinal injections, such as Propofol, was not the only medical treatment Michael Jackson sought. In 1993 Jackson announced he had vitiligo, a disorder which causes depigmentation of skin. Jackson, an Afircan American, consistently bleached his skin over the years. According to him, it was part of his treatment for vitiligo. Vitiligo is extremely rare, with an estimated one percent of the population suffering from it. Its causes are still virtually unknown, although doctors believe it may be caused by environmental, autoimmune or genetic factors. Vitiligo essentially is a condition where the skin’s pigmentation cells either die or simply cannot function, causing a change of color in the affected areas, as can be seen in the image to the left.

Click here to read about other celebrities with prescription medicine addictions.