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by Ernest H. Beutner, Ph.D.*
Professor of Microbiology and Dermatology,
University of Buffalo; School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences;
Buffalo, NY

Patients with pemphigus may benefit by working with their doctors to gain a better understanding of the tests used to detect and control the disease, in some situations. Three groups of tests can help doctors diagnose pemphigus; one of these can also help to control the disease. Two groups use skin or oral tissue samples, one from light microscopy and one for direct immunofluorescence. A third group uses blood tests for the pemphigus antibodies that cause the disease; these fluctuate with disease activity. Many doctors use al three methods to check all diagnoses of pemphigus; each test gives different types of information.

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This is not a scientific study, but we can draw some conclusions that would tend to support the current statistics especially for PV. The one big difference would be the correlation between males and females. We had females returning surveys twice as much as males – 32% males, 68% females for PV. This fact may be due to many factors as the prevailing statistics state that this disease is equal 50/50 between men and women. From the people who have contacted the Foundation throughout the 4.5 years we have been in existence, we calculate that the statistic would be more like 60/40 female to male.