Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Starting from scratch

08.09.2010
Choice of career is a major risk factor for persistent neurodermatitis

A child who can’t stop scratching himself may well be suffering from atopic dermatitis, also known as neurodermatitis. Extreme irritability of the skin with a concomitant urge to scratch is typical of the disorder.

The condition often appears during the first year of life and is on the increase in industrialized countries. The patient’s skin becomes hypersensitive and reacts strongly to even mild irritation. A research team led by LMU’s Dr. Astrid Peters and Professor Katja Radon has just published a longitudinal study which monitored the course of the disease in almost 4000 subjects from early childhood to adulthood.

The participants also supplied information regarding atopic reactions and occupational exposure to possible sensitizing agents. “Based on the data we obtained, we developed a probabilistic model that can predict the progress of the disorder during puberty, a phase which is often critical”, says Radon. “It emerged that the most important risk factor for adolescents is occupational exposure to substances such as flour or disinfectants. These results have significant implications for patient care, particularly with respect to their career choices.” (Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology online, 07 September 2010)

Neurodermatitis is very stressful, both for young patients and for their parents. The chronic irritability of nerve endings in the skin associated with the condition can cause young children to scratch until they bleed, which in turn may lead to infection of the inflamed skin. Atopic eczema, the medical term for neurodermatitis, is classified as an allergic disorder. The condition most likely results from a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Cigarette smoke and household dust are among the factors associated with the disease, while contact with siblings or other children reduces risk. The incidence of atopic eczema among children in developed nations is steadily increasing, and some estimates put it as high as 20% in Europe.

Neurodermatitis may become manifest in infancy, but often clears up as children get older. In some cases, the disorder resolves itself during early adolescence whereas, in other individuals, puberty markedly exacerbates the condition. “It is known that a patient’s choice of career is one factor that plays a role“, explains Radon, “but there was no way to predict how the disorder might progress as patients got older. We have re-evaluated data from several previous studies on asthma and allergies, which has allowed us to obtain a general picture of the course of atopic dermatitis during puberty, to identify exacerbating factors – and to model its development in individual cases.“

Data on almost 4000 subjects were analyzed in the study, which was financed by the Federal Ministry for Employment and Social Welfare and the Federal Centre for Occupational Health and Safety. The onset and progression of atopic dermatitis in a follow-up patient cohort at 9-11 and 16-20 years was compared, and factors associated with primary manifestation, re-emergence or maintenance of a pre-existing condition during adolescence were assessed. In about 7% of the participants, atopic dermatitis first appeared during this phase, with girls being at higher risk of developing the condition during their teenage years. Conversely, boys were overrepresented among younger patients. As expected, the chance of developing neurodermatitis increased significantly if a close relative suffered from the disorder.

“Children who were breast-fed, have siblings and attended kindergarten tend not to develop the condition in early childhood”, says Peters. “Strikingly, these factors have much less effect on risk for the late-onset form. Occupational exposure to irritating substances seems to be the only predisposing factor of major significance in cases of late-onset neurodermatitis.“ Groups that are at increased risk include bakers, cleaners and nurses. “Even short-term exposure to the chemicals one encounters in these settings can have a negative effect“, Peters points out. “Allergologists should take these findings into account when dispensing career counseling to young patients or adolescents at risk for neurodermatitis.“ (suwe)

Publication:
„Prediction of incidence, recurrence and persistence of atopic dermatitis in adolescence: a prospective cohort study“,
Astrid S. Peters et al.
Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology online, 07 September 2010, Vol. 126, Issue 3, Pages 590-595.e3
Contact:
Dr. Astrid S. Peters
Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Workgroup
Institute and Outpatient Clinic of Occupational, Social and Environmental Medicine
Phone: +49 89 / 5160 – 2372
Fax: +40 89 / 5160 – 4954
Email: astrid.peters@med.uni-muenchen.de
and sekretariat-radon@med.uni-muenchen.de

Luise Dirscherl | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.lmu.de
http://www.klinikum.uni-muenchen.de/Arbeits-und-Umweltepidemiologie-Netteaching/en/index.html

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht A promising target for kidney fibrosis
21.04.2017 | Brigham and Women's Hospital

nachricht Stem cell transplants: activating signal paths may protect from graft-versus-host disease
20.04.2017 | Technische Universität München

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

Im Focus: Quantum-physical Model System

Computer-assisted methods aid Heidelberg physicists in reproducing experiment with ultracold atoms

Two researchers at Heidelberg University have developed a model system that enables a better understanding of the processes in a quantum-physical experiment...

Im Focus: Glacier bacteria’s contribution to carbon cycling

Glaciers might seem rather inhospitable environments. However, they are home to a diverse and vibrant microbial community. It’s becoming increasingly clear that they play a bigger role in the carbon cycle than previously thought.

A new study, now published in the journal Nature Geoscience, shows how microbial communities in melting glaciers contribute to the Earth’s carbon cycle, a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Fraunhofer HHI with latest VR technologies at NAB in Las Vegas

24.04.2017 | Trade Fair News

New quantum liquid crystals may play role in future of computers

21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A promising target for kidney fibrosis

21.04.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>