Autoimmune diseases

Vitiligo: More than skin deep

Approximately 1% of the population has vitiligo, a skin condition in which areas of skin lose their color. While topical treatments and light therapy help some, research with a class of medications not previously used for this condition has shown promising results.

Need to check your thyroid? Maybe not

People who think they have hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid) may expect or request a wide range of blood tests to confirm diagnosis. Yet a much simpler, less costly test can identify hypothyroidism in almost everyone.

Autoimmune disease and stress: Is there a link?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

An observational study found that people diagnosed with stress-related disorders were more likely to develop an autoimmune disease, but was unable to provide proof of a directly causal relationship.

Stem-cell transplant: A possible high-risk/high-reward treatment for scleroderma

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Scleroderma is a painful, potentially debilitating autoimmune disease without good treatments. A novel approach to treating severe scleroderma using stem-cell transplantation to “reboot” the immune system shows great promise but not without potentially serious side effects.