Scientists find ancestral family connection to adult acne

It’s not every day we discover information that could help treat our own skin conditions, but that’s exactly what happened when the Otis Melnick Allergy Center at Northwestern Hospital found a family history of…

Scientists find ancestral family connection to adult acne

It’s not every day we discover information that could help treat our own skin conditions, but that’s exactly what happened when the Otis Melnick Allergy Center at Northwestern Hospital found a family history of adult acne.

The NYU Medical Professor of Dermatology caught the male patient during his first visit and decided to keep an eye on the man’s acne for four months. By the time the clinic stopped taking the patient’s photographs, he had an entire skin history covered.

Kathy Melnick, the program coordinator of Northwestern Hospital’s Otis Melnick Allergy Center, says, “People are often interested in personal DNA and biological traits and so he was doing something that was never done before in a dermatologist’s office. They’ve done things like sequencing DNA, and then I think in the past you’ve had people who’ve had an opportunity to explore and use their personal genome, but this is in a way that makes sense when you think about people’s lives.”

Researchers found that the man in question’s family history of adult acne, including his grandmother, father, and brother, may explain how he developed the skin condition in adulthood.

Melnick says: “We were able to trace to what he thought to be age one that we actually found he was actually 14. So he had plenty of time to develop his acne in the time that he had.”

Because of these new findings, Melnick and his team may be able to teach patients with multiple family histories of severe acne all over their skin and work to teach everyone in the next generation how to reduce their risk.

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