Broccoli can relieve inherited skin condition

Epidermolysis bullosa simplex (EBS) comprises a group of inherited disorders in which the skin blisters extremely easily and can be extremely painful to the sufferer. The problem lies in the genes that hold the instructions necessary for production of certain proteins in the top layer of skin. These instructions have a minor fault, rather like a typing error, with the result that the proteins are incorrectly formed, and unable to fulfil their role as scaffolding for the topmost layer of skin. The result is that the top layer of skin does not ‘stick’ securely to the layer beneath it, and where the two layers separate a blister develops.

Even the mildest form of EBS can leads to blistering of the hands and feet and the condition is more common than you might think. If only one of the two parents has the condition then there is a 1 in 2 chance it will be passed on their children.It may be obvious from birth, or develop during the first few weeks of life. Sites of blistering respond to areas where friction is caused by clothing and frequently appear around the edges of the nappy, but may not be noticed until the child begins walking, when foot blisters start to appear. There is currently no effective treatment that can cure it, though a number of measures can be taken to relieve the symptoms. However, a new study that was reported at the American Society for Cell Biology 47th Annual Meeting shows that eating broccoli could be of great benefit. Researchers from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, found that the natural compound sulforaphane, which is present in broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables, can help treat this disorder. Sulforaphane has already been lauded for its cancer-fighting powers and so the researchers carried ouit an experiment where they found that mice with EBS who were exposed to sulforaphane, had significantly reduced skin blistering. Patient trials have not yet been conducted, but in the meantime anyone suffering from this condition could benefit from eating broccoli at least 2-3 times a week.