Treatment of childhood eczema prevents asthma: study

July 7th, 2008 - 1:19 pm ICT by IANS  

Treatment of childhood eczema prevents asthma: study

Sydney, July 7 (IANS) More proactive treatment of eczema in childhood might ensure that asthma stays away later, according to a new study. The study, by Australian researchers, has followed more than 8,500 people from the ages of seven to 44.

Co-author John Burgess of the University of Melbourne said the study is the first to demonstrate an association between childhood eczema and asthma into middle age.

It found people who had childhood eczema were more likely to develop childhood asthma, new-onset asthma later in life or to have asthma which persisted from childhood into middle age.

Burgess said childhood eczema increased the risk of someone developing asthma well into adulthood.

“The incidence of asthma in people from the ages of 8 to 44 who had childhood eczema, was nearly double that of people who had never had eczema,” Burgess said.

Burgess said the study’s findings also supported the concept of the “atopic march”, in which eczema is often the first step in an allergic process that leads on to asthma or hay fever in later life.

“The results of our study showed childhood eczema clearly preceded asthma in each later stage of life - later childhood, adolescence, and adulthood,” he said.

“This makes a strong argument for trials on aggressive therapies against childhood eczema to help reduce the burden of asthma later in life.”

The findings of the study have been published online in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

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