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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 Dr. Astrid Peters and Professor Katja Radon from Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich 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)

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