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Merz Aesthetics, a Division of Merz Pharmaceuticals USA, Introduces a Universal Language of Aging for Use in Education, Research and Practice

- The Merz Scales(TM) Are the First Ever Standardized Scales to Measure the Skin's Aging Process -

SAN FRANCISCO, March 6 /PRNewswire/ -- Merz Aesthetics, a division of Merz Pharmaceuticals USA, introduced The Merz Scales - the first standardized, comprehensive rating system that measures, helps educate, and provides a common language for physicians, researchers and patients on the skin's aging process - at the American Academy of Dermatology's (AAD) 67th annual meeting in San Francisco. Developed by a leading team of multidisciplinary experts, the Merz Scales address the need for standardization, validation, and consistency when evaluating changes in aging skin. While the scales do not diagnose or treat any particular conditions, they do facilitate education and communication between physicians and patients about the aging process.

"At Merz we believe in the science of aesthetic medicine," said Jack Britts, President and Chief Executive Officer, Merz Pharmaceuticals USA. "Providing tools such as the Merz Scales to researchers, clinicians and patients enables us to bring an objective measure to the management of the aging process that can help educate and inform healthcare professionals and their patients. After years of having no comprehensive scale we need to bring new science to the aesthetics business."

The Merz Scales, including A Validated Brow Positioning Grading Scale; A Validated Grading Scale for Forehead Lines; A Validated Lip Fullness Grading Scale; A Validated Grading Scale for Marionette Lines; A Validated Hand Grading Scale; and, A Validated Grading Scale for Crow's Feet were published in a special issue of Dermatologic Surgery in November 2008. The Merz Scales also are being presented at several poster sessions at the AAD annual meeting on Sunday March 8th, including e poster 3517, 11:40-11:45 am - A Validated Rating Scale for Marionette Lines; e poster 3518, 11:50-11:55 am - A Validated Hand Grading Scale; e poster 3520, 12:10-12:15 pm - A Validated Lip Fullness Rating Scale; and e poster 3523, 12:40-12:45 - A Validated Rating Sale for Crow's Feet.

Other scales being developed by Merz Aesthetics include measures for glabellar lines, nasolabial folds, decolletage, and facial volume loss.

"The importance of these scales can't be overestimated -- in the last decade there has been a 446% increase in the number of cosmetic procedures that are performed. And this translates into an enormous number; more doctors, many, many, many more patients and researchers -- all of whom are trying to have a common language to describe to each other the traits of aging as time goes by," said Jean Carruthers, MD, a lead author and clinical professor of ophthalmology at the University of British Columbia, Canada.

About the Merz Scales

A total of nine experts from around the world trained in multiple specialties (dermatology, ophthalmology, plastic surgery, and dermatologic surgery) came together to create and validate a comprehensive scale system, reviewing and including photographs of men and women of diverse ages, skin types and ethnicities. As part of this process, the experts rated 35 to 50 real-life images of people, and evaluated the images for reproducibility of results.

The Merz Scales were then generated as five-point scales using computer-morphed photography. Specific anatomical changes related to aging were identified and were incorporated into the photographs, and a series of visual guides were developed to correspond to regional areas on the face and hands. When "lines" were formed as a result of the different movements of different muscle groups, such as crow's feet and forehead lines, static and dynamic lines were included. For example, The Forehead Lines Grading Scale was developed to objectively quantify resting (static) and hyperkinetic (dynamic) forehead lines. The scale ratings are 0 for no wrinkles, 1 for no wrinkles present at rest but fine lines with facial expressions, 2 for fine wrinkles present at rest and deep lines with facial expression, 3 for fine wrinkles present at rest and deeper lines with facial expression and 4 for deeper wrinkles at rest and deeper furrows with facial expression.

During the development of the validation process the team of experts discussed the resulting scales. Every participant graded the scales twice, with an overnight break in between. Intra and interrater variability analysis was performed. The variability analysis also was depicted in a bubble plot, which is an informative way of comparing grading between raters.

About Merz Aesthetics

Merz Aesthetics is the new division of Merz Pharmaceuticals, part of the Merz group of companies based in Frankfurt Germany, with a 100-year history of compassion and innovation in healthcare. The ongoing development of The Merz Scales represents the company's ongoing, deep commitment to education and research in health and beauty.

Merz Aesthetics plans to bring Merz' commercially successful line of injectable HA (hyaluronic acid) dermal fillers, called Belotero(R) to the US, once approved for marketing by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Belotero products are manufactured using a unique production process called Cohesive Polydensified Matrix (CPM) technology. This makes Belotero the world's first cohesive polydensified monophasic dermal filler. Merz hopes to introduce Belotero dermal fillers to the US market in early 2010, pending completion of clinical trials and following approval by the FDA.

SOURCE Merz Pharmaceuticals USA
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