Psoriasis is a skin disease that disfigures people’s bodies with scaly red plaques. Thirteen patients had portions of their psoriasis patches irradiated with intense beams of ultraviolet laser light at Massachusetts General Hospital. Other parts of the plaques were left untreated for comparison. After only five treatments, one patient’s redness, scales, and discomfort disappeared from the irradiated areas. Other patients required only a single treatment, lasting a few minutes, to clear their skin. In all cases, the treated areas remained clear for more than six months. Researcher Charles Taylor feels sure ultraviolet lasers will be adapted to treat other common skin maladies that distress millions of people in the United States. These include eczema, chronic itching, sun poisoning, vitiligo, and purple, lichen-looking markings known as lichen planus. Vitiligo produces a loss of pigment, resulting in splotches of light skin on dark-skinned individuals.