Michael Jackson's son Prince might have vitiligo

There's been a lot of dispute whether Michael Jackson really bleached his skin or he was just a vitiligo sufferer who's disease took a turn for the worse.

Michael has always claimed that it has been the disease that was responsible for his color change, rising a lot of criticism and drawing a lot of unwanted attention towards him and his family.Michael has 3 children:  Prince, 13, Paris, 12, and Blanket, 8.

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Vitiligo, a family business

There comes a time in the life of every vitiligo patient when we ask ourselves: „Will my children develop vitiligo ?
The frequency of vitiligo among siblings is 6.1% which is about 18 times higher then the usual population frequency, suggesting a major genetic component in the disease. The probability that a pair of twins will both have vitiligo is 23% indicating that a non-genetic component also plays a role. 

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Vitiligo Treatment with excimer laser

The excimer laser was invented in the 70s and uses a combination of two gases and electrical stimulation to create a laser light in the UV range. Currently, the most widespread therapy for the repigmentation of vitiligo spots  relies on narrow band UV radiation with a wavelength of 311nM (nbUVB), emitted  by a medical light bulb. This light can also be produced using excimer technology, with the advantage of laser’s precision, controlled dosage and good response from the skin.

Vitiligo World Congress 2010

This year the San Raffaele Scientific Institute in Milano will host the First World Vitiligo Congress, between 23-24 September.

Some of the known speakers will be:

Prof. Raymond E. Boissy - involved in studying vitiligo and pigment cell biology.
University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati, OH - USA
Prof. Richard A. Spritz - VitGene consortium project, aimed to identify susceptibility genes for generalized vitiligo. 
University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver, CO - USA

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Interview with Dr. Nasser Aghdami from Royan Cell Therapy Center

Following the large interest triggered by the first stem cell article, we are now able to provide an update from the researchers at the Royan Institute in Iran. Dr. Nasser Aghdami, the head of regenerative medicine department has been king enough to answer some of our questions.

Q1: Mr. Aghdami, what is your role at the Royan Institute and your experience in stem cell biology?

Can vitiligo affect hearing ?

Pigment cells are present in the inner ear and play a vasomotor function. Melanin,  a compound secreted by pigment cells facilitates the passage of substances from one side to the other of the inner ear and helps maintain cell membrane equilibrium.

Some studies have shown that the auditory function was decreased in patients with pigment disorders such as vitiligo, especially in the high frequency range. The loss of pigment cells that occurs in vitiligo can decrease the cochlear health. (Note. The cochlea is the auditory portion of the inner ear)

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How to confirm the vitiligo diagnostic

One of the methods through which doctors can confirm the vitiligo diagnosis is by using the Woods Lamp (black light).

This equipment emits ultraviolet light on a wavelength of 365 nanometers, making a vitiligo patient's skin glow yellow green or blue. In contrast, the healhy skin will have no reaction to the UV light.

It is used to detect several skin conditions including fungal and bacterial infections and skin coloring changes such as vitiligo.

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