Advocacy, psoriasis

Finishing Up at the American Academy of Dermatology 2017 Meeting

After taking a day to familiarize myself with the AAD meeting, I went full force for the next day and a half. I’m not sure how often patient advocates join meetings like AAD, but it definitely was a first for me. Without my guides and support from Janssen I don’t think I would have had such a positive experience.

Here are some of the elements of the meeting I experienced:

Exhibit Hall

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AAD 2017 Exhibit Hall in Orlando with over 400 booths

I took the picture above at the Aveeno booth, which shows me lost in an oat field. I don’t endorse products, but don’t mind sharing that I’ve personally used Aveeno since I was a teenager. I couldn’t pass up the photo opportunity!

The exhibit hall had over 400 booths with companies and organizations showing off their latest products, medications, and services. I naturally gravitated toward the consumer products and medications I use. But I also marveled at all the new medications available for psoriasis and atopic dermatitis. So much is coming down the pipeline, stay tuned.

Scientific Posters and Presentations

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Scientific Posters read on computers and presented in five minute sessionsfullsizerender-jpg-9

In another section of the exhibit hall doctors/researchers presented their scientific posters. I suppose these once were literal posters on a board, but now they are on slides available on computer monitors. I attended about six or seven of these sessions and found out some critical information for my future treatment options.

I liked how these sessions focused on a particular question, had clear conclusions, and did not go on for too long. The psoriasis sessions this morning garnered quite a bit of interest, as did all the psoriasis sessions I attended. Much of it flew over my head, but as a patient I still wanted to know the latest and greatest. It’s patients who can translate the information to other patients–even if we need them translated for us first.

Plenary Session

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The plenary session with Dr. Joel M. Gelfand presenting research on psoriasis and cardiovascular disease

I earmarked the the plenary session as one talk focused on the comorbidities associated with psoriasis. But first I heard the incoming AAD President’s address and another talk on melanoma. The anticipation grew as the psoriasis talk came.

Dr. Gelfand’s work includes research on the role of psoriasis in conditions found in patients. As many patients know, a myriad of conditions, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, are associated with psoriasis. We’ve known that those with moderate to severe psoriasis’s life spans shorten some five years. But does psoriasis cause those conditions?

The takeaway for the dermatologist is to check for psoriatic arthritis, educate and screen patients for cardiovascular risks, check for cancer, and give vaccinations like the flu shot. As patients we too should be asking for the same even if the doctor doesn’t order them for us.

Scientific Sessions

Finally, I sat in over four hours of lectures from top dermatologists on various topics related to psoriasis. The symposia had a number of doctors presenting for about 15-20 minutes each. The forum had two speakers who each took half the time.

I don’t have a picture of the scientific sessions as the AAD did not permit photography. Once I saw others take pictures, though, I felt tempted to take some. Even if I did, I wouldn’t show them publicly here. That’s if I did . . .

 

I have many more thoughts about the AAD meeting to sort out and blog about. Look for those in entries to come. In the meant time I’m looking forward to getting home tonight to celebrate my daughter’s 16th birthday.

Finally, I’m extremely grateful that Janssen gave me the opportunity to attend the meeting, and for their awesome support. They started a new psoriasis blogger group called “I Know PsO,” and invited me as a member of that group.