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Papers of the Week

Papers: 24 Feb 2024 - 1 Mar 2024

2024 Feb 24

Eur J Pediatr


Atopic dermatitis in early life and pain at 10 years of age: An exploratory study.


Gorito V, Brandão M, Azevedo I, Moreira A, Lucas R


Pain is a distinctive burden in atopic dermatitis and recognized as an important and highly prevalent symptom. It is unknown if the presence of atopic disease may sensitize children to adverse pain profiles in the long term. We aimed to assess the impact of early-life atopic dermatitis-like symptoms on pain at 10 years of age. We used data from 1302 and 874 participants of the Generation XXI birth cohort evaluated at 6 and 15 months, respectively, and 10 years. Atopy-like symptoms since birth, including atopic dermatitis, were collected at ages 6 and 15 months by interviewing parents. Pain history in the last 3 months at age 10 was collected from parents and children using structured questionnaires. We computed relative risks (RR) and respective 95% confidence intervals of pain features at age 10 according to each atopic-like symptom at 6 and 15 months. Children whose parents reported atopic dermatitis-like symptoms at 6 months and at 15 months had higher risk of reporting any pain (RR 1.75 [1.15-2.66]) and multisite pain, respectively (RR 1.67 [1.18-2.37]) at 10 years of age.  Conclusion: Atopic dermatitis symptoms in early life were associated with a higher risk of pain at age 10, suggesting that potential for sensitization during the first decade of life and highlighting the importance of improving the health care of children with atopic dermatitis is worth investigating. What is Known: • Atopic disorders have been associated with many non-atopic comorbidities, including chronic pain. • Pain and atopic dermatitis share common inflammatory pathways. Inflammation, injury to the skin from scratching, fissures, and intolerance to irritants related to atopic dermatitis can cause pain. What is New: • Atopic dermatitis in early life is linked to an increased likelihood of experiencing pain at the age of 10, which suggests that exploring the potential for sensitization is a worthwhile area of investigation. • Our proof-of-concept study highlights the potential benefit of studying management targets and improving itching and relieving skin pain as quickly as possible, avoiding potential long-term consequences of the sensitization process.