Georgescu Simona MD, PhD
University of Medicine and Pharmacy “Carol Davila”, Bucharest
Psoriasis History – Between myth and reality
Author: Simona Georgescu
Psoriasis is an affliction known since antiquity, its history spreading over more than 2000 years. The last decades brought extraordinary discoveries regarding psoriasis, however there are still numerous lacunas in the elucidation of the etiopathogenesis and no cure is yet available.
Psoriasis is defined as a chronic inflammatory disease, affecting approximately 2% of the world’s population, characterized by the occurrence of a generalized or localized erythematous, squamous eruption consisting in plaques. Presently, it is considered that psoriasis is an affliction with multifactorial etiology in which the genetic background plays a central role, modulated by various environmental factors (Fitzpatrick et al., 2008).
In the current setting, in which modern biological therapies revolutionized the treatment of psoriasis, the history of the affliction, the long line of speculations and myths regarding psoriasis remain no less interesting. Psoriatic patients are still stigmatized and the fear of contagion persists in the general population, reminding the modern world that in the old days psoriasis was confused with leprosy. Only in the 19th century medicine made a distinction between psoriasis and leprosy and opened the road to new, more efficient therapeutic approaches.
In this context, I present a short history of psoriasis from antiquity to the 21st century, intended to place in a wider setting this very old, still incurable disease, with an extremely important, sometimes devastating impact on patient’s life, and to open a gate to what the future might bring regarding this affliction.