Oatmeal has been used for centuries as a topical soothing agent on the skin to relieve itch and irritation in dermatology. Of course this is coming from Johnson & Johnson, which sells a brand of oatmeal lotion, but look, if it helps with dry skin or a bug bite, I can imagine it having some soothing quality–but this study shocked me.
There’s a class of chemo drugs, like cetuximab, that causes an awful rash. It’s bad enough you have some horrible cancer, but then to have a painful itchy rash on top of it? Various treatments have been tried and failed. There was no clear preventive or curative treatment for this eruption. Or is there?
The researchers had heard about this study, in which human skin fragments from plastic surgery were subjected to an inflammatory chemical, and adding an oatmeal extract appeared to help, so what do you have to lose? Of the ten patients with chemo rashes who they were able to get access to try some oatmeal lotion, six had a complete response, and four a partial response, giving an overall oatmeal response rate of 100%.
Doctors wrote in from around the world. Significant improvement in all patients? Seemed rather too good to be true, but out of desperation they tried it, and got the same astonishing results. Oatmeal; a simple topical agent producing such spectacular benefit where more complex therapies have failed. In an age when ever more expensive treatments are consistently being championed, it would be a great pity if this inexpensive, natural approach to relieving distressing symptoms were to be overlooked.
Ironically, two of the cancer cell lines found resistant in vitro to this kind of chemotherapy were found to be sensitive to avenanthramides, which are unique phytonutrients found in oats, suggesting that people should be applying oatmeal to their insides as well.
To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Katie Schloer.
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