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Beyond the Bale : September 2016
SUPERFINE MERINO GOOD FOR SKIN HEALTH Eczema, also known as Atopic Dermatitis (AD), is approaching epidemic levels in Western nations, with more than 20 per cent of all children born in Australia having a degree of eczema. Sufferers of the condition have dysfunctional skin that dries out, which leads to the skin cracking, bacterial infection, redness, scratching and itching. However, in positive news for the wool industry, two recent AWI-funded dermatology trials have shown that infant and adult sufferers of eczema have reduced symptoms when wearing superfine Merino wool garments next to the skin. The successful research findings are being documented and published in high rating dermatological journals, and a communications and marketing plan has been prepared, in collaboration with the International Wool Textile Organization, to effectively take this positive message about Merino wool to high value consumer markets across the world. STUDY 1: CLINICAL TRIAL OF INFANTS WITH ECZEMA (MCRI, MELBOURNE) An AWI-funded study of approximately 40 babies and young children under three years old, at the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute (MCRI) in Melbourne, showed significant advantages of superfine Merino wool base-layers over cotton in ameliorating the symptoms of eczema. AWI-funded clinical studies have demonstrated that suitably selected Merino base-layer garments are healthy and therapeutic for the skin, especially for those with the most sensitive skin such as eczema sufferers. The aim of the research is to ultimately open doors to new high value markets for wool. In the study, half the children wore 100% superfine Merino wool for six weeks before changing over to cotton, with the remaining children starting in cotton before switching over to Merino wool after six weeks. “We found that wearing superfine Merino wool led to an overall greater improvement in eczema, when compared with wearing outfits made of cotton,” said Associate Professor John Su. “This finding challenges prevalent beliefs in the lay and medical communities, as well as findings from older, less rigorously performed studies from the mid-1950s, when coarser diameter and heavier wool garments were used. “Skin irritation from any fibre type partly relates to the diameter of fibres. While wool can have many fibre diameters, only low 24 OFF FARM
In the Shops - September 2016