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26-09-2012 | Dermatology | Article

Gestational age and weight impact early atopic dermatitis risk


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medwireNews: High birthweight and having a gestational age older than 40 weeks increases a baby's risk for developing atopic dermatitis (AD), suggest results from two meta-analyses presented at the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology annual congress in Prague, Czech Republic.

Mihaela Panduru (University of Medicine and Pharmacy, 2nd Department of Pathophysiology, Bucharest, Romania) and colleagues, who presented the research in the form of two E-posters, also found that having a low birthweight and a gestational age below 37 weeks' seemed to have a protective effect against the condition.

"AD has an increasing incidence and the real cause of the disease is not yet known," say the authors, who add that it "represents one of the first manifestations of 'allergic march.' "

In the first study, Panduru and team searched for articles comparing children born earlier than 37 weeks' and later than 40 weeks' with those born between 37 and 40 weeks' (normal gestation) in terms of their AD status. From 144 articles, 11 were selected for further analysis.

They found that having a gestational age below 37 weeks' reduced a child's risk for AD by a significant 11% compared with having a normal gestational age. Conversely, having a gestational age older than 40 weeks' increased AD risk by a significant 14%.

In the second study, the researchers compared AD status in children who had a low (below 2500 g) or high (above 4000 g) birthweight with those of a normal birthweight (2500-4000 g). Of 63 possible articles, 10 were chosen for analysis including 110,974 participants in total.

Low birthweight seemed to have a protective effect against AD, reducing the risk by a significant 15%, whereas high birthweight increased the risk for AD by a significant 10% compared with normal birthweight.

medwireNews ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2012

By Helen Albert, Senior medwireNews Writer

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