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Maturation of an Idea: A Historical Perspective on the Association of Psoriasis With the Metabolic Syndrome and Cardiovascular Disease

Iben Marie Miller, MD; Gregor B. E. Jemec, DMSc, MD
Arch Dermatol. 2012;148(1):112. doi:10.1001/archderm.148.1.112.
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During the past 5 to 10 years, the association of psoriasis with the cluster of cardiovascular risk factors called the metabolic syndrome (hypertension, dyslipidemia, diabetes, and obesity) and cardiovascular disease has been a ”hot topic ” in medical science, linking dermatology, cardiology, endocrinology, and internal medicine together. In view of the interest that this idea attracts, examining its origins appears worthwhile.

The first reference to a possible association between psoriasis and diabetes was found in an article by Strauss1 in Germany in 1897. The idea resurfaced during World War I (1914-1918), when it was observed that the incidence of psoriasis seemed to decrease. The observation was neither substantiated nor explored, but it was speculated that the decrease was attributable to the scarcity of all foods, especially fats, during the war, and thus a link was hypothesized between fat metabolism and psoriasis.2

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