Cork researchers discover prediction model for dermatitis in infants

30 Jul 2015

A team of researchers from University College Cork (UCC) has cracked a new prediction model for dermatitis in infants as part of a European Union (EU) funded project.

Dermatitis in infants – officially known as atopic dermatitis (AD) – is an inflammation of the skin that results in itchy, red, swollen, and cracked skin, which is very uncomfortable for young children. causing much distress and reducing the quality of life for sufferers and their parents.

AD affects around one-in-five children in the developed world and seemingly an increasing number of children in cities in developing countries.

The condition has been shown to have long-lasting effects on the sufferer, with many going on to develop hay fever or asthma later in life.

However, now it is hoped AD can be better understood thanks to recent findings from the UCC research team on the EU ODIN project led by Professor Mairead Kiely.

Offers best opportunity for prevention

From its research, mothers predisposed towards developing certain allergic reactions and high fat mass in newborn babies have been linked to the key factors that increase the risk of AD in infants.

The researchers now hope that early identification of those at risk could lead to the more rapid implementation of preventative measures.

“This novel finding, by Dr Sinead O’Donovan, an early-career researcher in Human Nutrition at UCC… may aid in the early identification of those at risk of AD, because early identification of at-risk infants represents the best opportunity for prevention.” says Prof Kiely.

Speaking of where their research will now take them, Prof Kiely said: “We are currently extending this analysis to include other mother-infant birth cohorts to examine geographical and other environmental and genetic determinants of AD, which is a significant risk for paediatric food allergy”.

UCC image via Kman999/Flickr

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic