Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Eczema still on the increase in developing countries

08.01.2008
Experts are warning policy makers that allergic disease might replace infectious disease as a major cause of ill health in cities undergoing rapid demographic changes in developing countries.

New research tracking the number of cases of childhood eczema across the globe has revealed big changes in the prevalence of the condition over the last five to ten years and suggests that environmental factors could be having a significant impact.

Research, by a team of allergy experts across the world, has shown a levelling off in the number of cases of eczema in children aged between 13 to 14 years and a decrease in some countries like the UK and New Zealand where childhood eczema was once highly prevalent. But a continuing rise in younger children aged between six and seven and in the number of cases reported in developing countries is of growing concern.

Their paper, published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, suggests environmental factors are key for eczema expression because it is highly unlikely that genetic factors would change in such a short time.

Hywel Williams, Professor of Dermato-Epidemiology in the Centre of Evidence-Based Dermatology at The University of Nottingham, who led the eczema research, says eczema needs to be tackled at a public health level in many countries.

He says that moderate or severe cases of eczema have a significant impact on family life and carry an economic burden comparable with that of asthma. Constant scratching often leads to sleep deprivation which also affects carers as well as incurring significant financial costs.

Professor Williams and his international team analysed information from two worldwide surveys of asthma and allergy symptoms in children which was carried out by the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in childhood (ISAAC) between 1991 and 2001. ISAAC was formed in 1991 to facilitate research into asthma, allergic rhinitis and eczema by promoting a standardised methodology, and currently holds a Guinness World record for the largest epidemiological study in children.

Professor Williams and his team analysed over 300,000 children aged 13 to 14 years from 105 centres in 55 countries and nearly 190,000 children aged six to seven years from 64 centres in 35 countries.

The largest decreases in children aged between 13 to 14 years were seen in developed countries in northwest Europe, such as the United Kingdom, Ireland, Sweden, Germany and also New Zealand. Professor Williams says this provides some reassurance that an allergic disease epidemic is not increasing inexorably throughout the world, and that a threshold effect may be in operation.

Most of the biggest increases in the 13 to 14 age group were seen in developing countries such as Mexico, Chile, Kenya and Algeria and in seven countries in Southeast Asia.

However, in six to seven year olds most countries showed significant increases over the five to ten year period.

Professor Williams said: “This is the first time we have been able to have a glimpse at what has been happening to eczema symptoms across the world using standardised methods. The results suggest that environmental factors are key to the expression of eczema — if only we could identify those factors so that we could prevent eczema in those countries experiencing significant increases.”

Although no singular environmental or genetic risk factor adequately explains the changes in eczema symptoms described in this paper Professor Williams does have some words of encouragement. He says there is already some evidence that eczema might be preventable to some degree and there is plenty of evidence on effective approaches to managing existing eczema symptoms. The way forward, he suggests, is for all public health responses to the eczema epidemic to ideally include an evaluative component so that others in the world can understand which approaches are more likely to be successful than others in different circumstances.

Emma Thorne | alfa
Further information:
http://www.nottingham.ac.uk
http://isaac.auckland.ac.nz/

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Deep stimulation improves cognitive control by augmenting brain rhythms
04.04.2019 | Picower Institute at MIT

nachricht Black nanoparticles slow the growth of tumors
04.04.2019 | 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: Explosion on Jupiter-sized star 10 times more powerful than ever seen on our sun

A stellar flare 10 times more powerful than anything seen on our sun has burst from an ultracool star almost the same size as Jupiter

  • Coolest and smallest star to produce a superflare found
  • Star is a tenth of the radius of our Sun
  • Researchers led by University of Warwick could only see...

Im Focus: Quantum simulation more stable than expected

A localization phenomenon boosts the accuracy of solving quantum many-body problems with quantum computers which are otherwise challenging for conventional computers. This brings such digital quantum simulation within reach on quantum devices available today.

Quantum computers promise to solve certain computational problems exponentially faster than any classical machine. “A particularly promising application is the...

Im Focus: Largest, fastest array of microscopic 'traffic cops' for optical communications

The technology could revolutionize how information travels through data centers and artificial intelligence networks

Engineers at the University of California, Berkeley have built a new photonic switch that can control the direction of light passing through optical fibers...

Im Focus: A long-distance relationship in femtoseconds

Physicists observe how electron-hole pairs drift apart at ultrafast speed, but still remain strongly bound.

Modern electronics relies on ultrafast charge motion on ever shorter length scales. Physicists from Regensburg and Gothenburg have now succeeded in resolving a...

Im Focus: Researchers 3D print metamaterials with novel optical properties

Engineers create novel optical devices, including a moth eye-inspired omnidirectional microwave antenna

A team of engineers at Tufts University has developed a series of 3D printed metamaterials with unique microwave or optical properties that go beyond what is...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Revered mathematicians and computer scientists converge with 200 young researchers in Heidelberg!

17.04.2019 | Event News

First dust conference in the Central Asian part of the earth’s dust belt

15.04.2019 | Event News

Fraunhofer FHR at the IEEE Radar Conference 2019 in Boston, USA

09.04.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

New automated biological-sample analysis systems to accelerate disease detection

18.04.2019 | Life Sciences

Explosion on Jupiter-sized star 10 times more powerful than ever seen on our sun

18.04.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

New eDNA technology used to quickly assess coral reefs

18.04.2019 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>