A new study has found that children at one year of age who have eczema or atopic dermatitis and who are allergen-sensitive are seven times more likely to develop asthma. They are also significantly more likely to have a food allergy by age three. Yet AD alone does not determine likelihood of asthma. This puts clinicians one step closer to determining risks for what's called the "atopic march" in the link between the skin conditions and allergies.
The study, published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, was part of the ongoing Canadian CHILD Study.
"These findings help us to understand the interactive effects of AD and early allergic sensitization on the risk of asthma and food allergy.."
In combination, Dr. Malcolm Sears, founding director of the CHILD Study says, these diseases can pose a significant risk for future allergic disease.
The study used data from over 2,300 children across Canada up to three years of age. Researchers pulled data to evaluate the presence of atopic dermatitis (AD) and allergen sensitivities and follow-on diagnosis of food allergies or asthma.
"Our findings are useful to help predict which children may develop asthma and allergies," said study first author Maxwell Tran, a BHSc graduate from McMaster University and AllerGen trainee studying medicine at the University of Toronto. "..this research offers healthcare professionals an alternative method [to genetic testing].."
The study follows on a similar CHILD Study which linked early avoidance of certain allergenic foods such as peanuts with higher risks of allergic sensitization later on.