July 7, 2008

Treating Child Eczema May Prevent Asthma

Aggressive treatment of childhood eczema could help prevent asthma, Australian researchers say.

The study, published online in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, found people who had the skin affliction as children were more likely to develop one form or another of the chronic respiratory condition.

Researchers at the University of Melbourne, Monash University and Menzies Research Institute in Tasmania, tracked more than 8,500 people -- part of the Tasmanian Longitudinal Health Study -- from the ages of 7 to 44.

Study author John Burgess of the University of Melbourne's Melbourne School of Population Health said the study is the first to demonstrate an association between childhood eczema and asthma into middle age.

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 in a statement.

Burgess said the study's findings may indicate eczema may be the first step in an allergic process that leads on to asthma or hayfever in later life.