Atopic Dermatitis and The Understand AD Campaign [Interview][Transcript]

dr_doris_day_understand_ad_campaignGuest: Dr. Doris Day
Presenter: Neal Howard
Guest Bio: Doris Day, MD, is a board certified dermatologist who specializes in laser, cosmetic and surgical dermatology on the Upper East Side in New York City. Her private practice includes national and international celebrities. Dr. Day is affiliated with Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City and is a clinical associate professor of dermatology at the New York University Langone Medical Centers where she was presented with the award for Dedication and Excellence in the Teaching of Dermatology.

Segment overview: Dr. Doris Day, MD, a board certified dermatologist discusses the results of the forthcoming patient survey which shed light on the burden of the condition of Atopic Dermatitis on patients’ lives via Understand AD Campaign from Sanofi Genzyme and Regeneron in collaboration with the National Eczema Association and the Dermatology Nurses Association.

Health Professional Radio – The Understand AD Campaign

Neal Howard: Hello and welcome to Health Professional Radio. I’m your host Neal Howard, thank you for joining us today. Our guest in studio is returning to talk with us Dr. Doris Day, board certified dermatologist. She’s returning to discuss with us the results of a forthcoming patient’s survey that shed a little bit of light on the condition of atopic dermatitis, how would it affects patients’ lives also the Understand AD campaign and also talk a little bit about October being Eczema Awareness Month. Welcome to Health Professional Radio Dr. Day.

Dr. Doris Day: Thanks so much for having me back.

N: When we were here before we were talking about the atopic dermatitis as a form of eczema and this month, October being Eczema Awareness Month. And I understand that you are involved in a campaign to well bring some Understanding AD. Talk about Understand AD briefly.

D: Understand AD is really about opening up a dialogue so that people who are suffering from moderate to severe atopic dermatitis know that they’re not alone and know that this is an area of very active research. So the website is and there’s lots of really great and useful information and resources there to help people learn more about it and what they can do. So I’m very proud to be a part of it because I love the idea of educating and helping people understand what they can do about their condition especially when it’s a chronic condition that they often when I ask patients everyday who feel so helpless and they’re just tired of the regimens that they have that sometimes work, sometimes don’t work. They feel like they’re living with a ticking time bomb that can come up anytime and they’re surprised by some of the triggers. It’s difficult to control, nothing seems to clear quickly enough for them and it has a powerful impact on their lifestyle and quality of life in general.

N: Does it address misdiagnosis? I mean sometimes when you’ve got something that and you’re like ‘What is this itching? What’s going on here?’ you try the over-the-counter remedies, you try the herbs and the spices and what-not, you talked to Aunt Betty and then you decide to go to a health care provider but it mimics something else. Is this something that’s readily diagnosable or is it sometimes a hit and miss which adds to some of the stress and anxiety?

D: Well there’s lots of different treatments and every treatment has a side effect and with some of the treatments we have to moderate how much we use them because of the side effect but the problem with atopic dermatitis is basically that it’s chronic and it’s unsightly and it’s really, really uncomfortable. It itches terribly, often waking somebody in their sleep and there’s an irresistible scratch, so that leads to the rash which can create oozing and burning and even scarring of the skin. It’s hard to get ahead of it and many of the treatments are time consuming and patients simply get tired of doing them.

N: Is this the campaign that spearheaded a recent patient survey that talks about atopic dermatitis and how it affects patients’ lives and often times have them maybe even change lifestyles, jobs or just basically going through lots of mental stress?

D: So the Understand AD campaign also on behalf of that there was a survey done by Harris Paul, so this was done between July 28th and August 17th that was conducted amongst over 500 adults, 18 and older who self-reported being diagnosed by a physician with moderate to severe atopic dermatitis, eczema or atopic eczema and the age, sex, race, ethnicity, education, the region, household income, all that was weighted to basically match their proportions in the population. So it’s a really well-done survey of a broad range of the population and the survey basically asked a series of questions to help understand the impact of moderate to severe atopic dermatitis and based on the results what we found were that nearly 75% of people surveyed scratched three or more times a day that 82% of respondents said they had to make lifestyle modifications because of their moderate to severe atopic dermatitis and more than a quarter of those surveys had 10 or more sleep disturbances over the past month and sleep disturbances are really profound because that affect how you heal, it affects your judgement, affects your mood. And then going into the professional side, 26% reported that their skin disease negatively impact their work performance and some people even over 15% made career job choices or changes that limited face to face interactions because of their disease. And then 70% had tried different treatments without lasting success. So this is something that affect patients on so many levels, the psychological side, a quarter felt depressed, nearly 30% felt anxious, this affects someone on multiple levels and the survey really helped to highlight what we kind of know as physicians and dermatologists but to put it out there in such clear numbers to help highlight the powerful impact, negative impact this has on the lives of these patients and makes me realize how important this conversation is but also to give hope because it is an area of active research and there are treatments that will hopefully be available soon that can have an impact on those numbers then if we ask that survey again in another year or so, hopefully those numbers will be so much better.

N: During the survey, did you discover any information that talked about some mental health treatment as a result of the stress and the strain of living with AD? Or did you find that well once a method of control is found then maybe some of the depression diminishes, some of the stress diminishes or is it something that you’re going to need help for?

D: Absolutely. No, I mean sometimes it’s related, sometimes it’s not. But you definitely, my observation has been that once the atopic dermatitis is under control the other associated co-morbidities also improve as well.

N: And where online can our listeners go and get some more information about AD and the Understand AD campaign?

D: You can go to

N: And I understand you’ve got a web presence,, could you talk about that website?

D: My website, absolutely. My website is or drdorisday, they’re linked to each other so they’re easy to find but there’s lots of information there as well, absolutely.

N: Have you got any information on support groups for people that are living with it who maybe be able to give each other some information that they may not have found from a health care provider?

D: I think that there might be some listed on that site if not I will look to have them listed there but support groups you can find through your doctor and you may be able to find it as well if you go to the Atopic Dermatitis Society or Foundation if there are those. That’s something that I have to Google, something that I’m not that familiar with but I tend to find thru hospital support groups or thru the site.

N: Have you found or did the survey reveal any patient comments about diet and nutrition as an aspect of trying to control AD once it’s identified as being AD?

D: It didn’t look at that because it was really looking at what the patient was going through. That would be identified as a potential trigger and it’s definitely on the list as potential triggers, so we often have patients also see allergists, there’s a multi-disciplinary approach so it’s something that we work with with allergists and with primary care physicians to make sure our patients are otherwise fully optimized in terms of their overall health and we looked to see if any foods are maybe triggers with their atopic dermatitis as well but it is an area that we need to always pay attention for sure.

N: Now is this the first year of October being Eczema Awareness Month and what do you see in the future?

D: It’s not the first year but we’re hoping that we can increase awareness overtime and have that grow and I’m hoping in the future we’ll build on this survey have more patients that we can reach and more treatment so we can really improve this dialogue, improve the condition and help our patients live long, healthy and happy lives.

N: Great. You’ve been listening to Health Professional Radio. I’m your host Neal Howard in studio with Dr. Doris Day, she’s a board certified dermatologist and she’s been with us as a returning guest discussing the results of a patients’ survey which shed just a bit of light on the burden of the condition of atopic dermatitis on patients and how lifestyle changes or often not enough to ease some of the stress and mental burden. It’s been great having you here with us today Doctor.

D: Great. Thanks so much for having me.

N: Thank you. Transcripts and audio of this program are available at and also at and you can subscribe to this podcast on iTunes.

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