Eczema in infancy and early childhood may be a significant factor in later behavioural and emotional problems

Research from Germany, published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology suggests that children who suffered from eczema during the first two years of life were more likely to demonstrate psychological abnormalities, in particular emotional problems, at age ten years than children of the same age who had not suffered from the disease and that children whose eczema persisted beyond the first two years of life were more likely to have mental health problems than children who had eczema only in infancy.

For the study, researchers tracked the family history of the children, collected data on their physical health and emotional condition at age 10 years and gathered information on their daily lives. Questions were asked about the course of disease - also in early childhood - with special focus on diseases such as eczema, asthma, allergic rhinitis, stress tolerance and behavioral abnormalities.

Children who suffer from eczema also suffer form a broad spectrum of secondary symptoms, such as sleep disorders, and the researchers believe that it is the secondary symptoms which have the long term effect on their emotional health.

They recommend that early eczema be documented in the children's record as a potential risk factor for emotional difficulties in later childhood.

Schmitt J, Apfelbacher C, Chen C-M, Romanos, M, Sausenthaler, S, Koletzko S, Bauer C-P, Hoffmann U, Krämer U, Berdel D, von Berg A, Wichmann H.-E, Heinrich J. Infant-onset eczema in relation to mental health problems at age 10 years: Results from a prospective birth cohort study (GINIplus). Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 125 (2010), 404-410

Courtesy of Science Daily

February 2010


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