Atopic dermatitis - in the new age of digital dermatology

Dina Hasarmi
Dina Hasarmi
Medical Writer

Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a chronic inflammatory dermatological condition affecting approximately 23% of the population globally. Due to the complex and unspecific symptoms, and a significant QOL burden of AD, there is a high demand for an innovative tool enabling objective disease monitoring and assessment. The currently available scoring methods are time consuming and lacking objectivity. SCARLETRED delivers a new digital imaging technology for biopharma companies and professionals for easy and effective assessment of AD. 


What is atopic dermatitis?

Atopic dermatitis (AD), also known as atopic eczema, is a chronic relapsing inflammatory skin disease. It affects approx. 20% of children and up to 3% of adults worldwide, however recent data shows that the prevalence is still increasing, especially in low-income countries.

Even though it is not fully understood what exactly causes this complex condition, the immune system is thought to become disordered and overactive, thus contact with irritants and allergens in the environment play a role in starting the cycle of inflammation and damage that causes the symptoms.

The onset of AD is often in early childhood, which may persist into adolescence and adulthood. It is possible that patients have periods of months or even years between flares.

Signs and symptoms vary widely from person to person, but they commonly include:

  • Dry skin
  • Itching
  • Red to brownish-gray patches
  • Small, raised bumps
  • Thickened, cracked, scaly skin
  • Sensitive, swollen skin



The burden of AD

Patients with AD often have to face challenges and difficulties in their daily life. AD has an impact on their overall quality of life and comes with a social, academic and occupational burden. These challenges are not limited to the patient only, but also frequently experienced by their family, because AD is a chronic relapsing skin disease that can persist into adulthood.

Itching is the major symptom associated with impact on the quality of life, supported by data when many patients identified relief of itching to be their primary treatment goal. Sleep disturbance is a frequent consequence of itching and is experienced by upto 60% of patients. Furthermore, itch has been associated with mental distress and increased risk for suicidal ideation in those with severe AD. Sleep disturbance is a frequent consequence of itching and is experienced by upto 60% of patients.

Traditional scoring methods are in need for standardization 

Medical assessment for AD usually consists of documentation of family history, physical examination, questions about the quality of life and the evaluation of other factors. Considering the high disease burden of AD, multiple scoring methods have been developed over the years, such as the Eczema Area and Severity Index (EASI) and SCORing Atopic Dermatitis (SCORAD). 

SCORAD is most widely used by dermatologists before and after treatment to determine the effectiveness of the treatment. It is the measure of average redness, thickness, swelling, crusting, scratching and dryness of the skin weighted by the area involved in nine body zones - head and neck, upper limbs, lower limbs, anterior trunk, back and genitals. In comparison, EASI is a less complex scoring method, as it only takes the inflammation into account, but not the grade of dryness and scaling of the skin. 

In clinical research, having a reliable, accurate and comparable method for the assessment of disease severity has utmost importance. 

Even though the currently available measurement tools for documentation and assessment of AD are widely used, they do have limitations to be addressed. Up to now, professionals were dependent on subjective and time consuming traditional scoring methods, which lack reproducibility, high sensitivity and comparability required in clinical research.

Scarletred®Vision skin imaging technology is enabling high quality documentation and analysis of dermatological conditions improving the difficulties dermatologists experience with measuring and assessing AD. 


Objective digital assessment of AD

Scarletred®Vision´s technology delivers a standardized documentation and analysis tool, overcoming inaccuracies of the subjective traditional scoring tools, therefore it is well accepted by regulatory bodies for use in clinical trials globally. 

The medical device certified technology ensures the objective imaging and secure documentation of skin changes and lesions, allowing the improvement of the reliability of currently available scoring tools. Also, it offers an easy-to-use visual documentation and analysis tool which patients can use from their own home.

Scarletred®Vision smartphone app together with the software platform creates easy information flow between patient and professionals and a secure data storage. The real-time based visual documentation grants enhanced efficiency of monitoring and measurement of a wide variety of dermatological conditions, including AD.

Importantly, the platform provides optimized analysis and measurement through the integrated remote data monitoring. The built-in customizable service tools offer a more efficient way to objectively measure the severity and manifestation of AD. The additional questionnaire tool provides essential information, as only the visual assessment alone is not enough, as itching and sleeplessness are common symptoms, playing a major role in the daily challenges AD patients are facing.  With this additional tool, professionals are provided with all of the necessary information to define the overall treatment success in daily routine as well as in clinical trials. 

Assessment of disease activity is key in clinical management and monitoring of patients with AD. Such trials are dependent on the use of reliable and relevant outcome measures and the standardization of measurement tools is critical. SCARLETRED delivers an innovative digital technology for biopharma companies as well as professionals for the assessment and measurement of AD, ensuring reproducibility, comparability and objectivity. 

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