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Eczema in Early Childhood May Effect Mental Health

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Eczema and emotional problems

Eczema in Early Childhood May Effect Mental Health

March 01, 2010

By Stephanie Lachapelle for Body1

A recent study indicates that children who suffered from eczema within the first two years were more likely to develop emotional problems later in childhood. Additionally, children whose condition persisted past age two were more likely to suffer mental health problems.

A team of researchers led by Assistant Professor Jochen Schmitt of Dresden University Hospital, Dr. Christian Apfelbacher (Heidelberg University Hospital) and Dr. Joachim Heinrich of the Institute of Epidemiology of the German Research Center for Environmental Health, tracked the family history of 5,991 children born between 1995 and 1998, and collected data on each child’s physical health and emotional well-being at age ten. Participating families were asked about the course of their child’s disease, particularly about eczema, asthma, stress tolerance and behavioral abnormalities.

Eczema is a skin disease characterized by itchy, scaly skin rashes. It affects mostly children and adolescents. These children have an increased predisposition for hay fever and allergic asthma. Secondary symptoms include sleep disorders and other broad spectrum symptoms.

Researchers found that those children who suffered from eczema during the first two years of life were more likely to develop psychological abnormalities at age ten than children who had not suffered from eczema. Those children who were suffered long-term were more likely to suffer from emotional problems than those children whose eczema did not continue past age two.

The authors recommend documenting and following the child’s history of eczema as a potential risk factor for psychological problems, even if the primary disease disappears during the course of childhood, citing that the secondary symptoms of eczema have long-term effects on the emotions of the child.


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