Study Shows Infrared Light Removes Warts

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BERLIN, Jan. 21 -- Water-filtered infrared light is an effective and painless means of removing warts, according to a Reuters article about a clinical trial by German dermatologists.

In the article, Silke Fuchs from the Jena University dermatology clinic said that when infrared radiation is conducted through water, its long-wave parts are filtered out in favor of the short-wave IR-A band, resulting in a reduced risk of superficial burns and a better penetration into tissues. Heating the wart increases blood flow and stimulates an immune response to the human papillomavirus.

Fuchs and her team, led by dermatology Professor Peter Elsner, conducted a clinical study on 80 patients with warts that had resisted other treatments, Reuters reported.

"Participants were either treated with the water-filtered infrared therapy or with a 'placebo' light. Of those who had the infrared treatment, more than 80 percent displayed a clear reduction in the wart-covered area. One third of those given placebo light showed reduction," the article said.

Further treatment with 5-aminolevulinic acid, a chemical used in light-activated therapy, did not result in further improvement, Fuchs reported at a presentation last month at a symposium at the Braun Foundation in Luzern, Switzerland.

The infrared light treatment, furthermore, had no side effects; it functions to strengthen the immune system with light by increasing blood flow, according to the article.

The researchers said the infrared therapy is especially well suited for children who have been treated unsuccessfully with other methods.

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Published: January 2003
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