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Climate Affecting Atopic Dermatitis, Study Shows

Posted: January 28, 2009

Climate affects children who have atopic dermatitis, a recurrent disease of the skin. This is suggested in a study headed by Spanish researchers that links this disease with rainy and humid areas. However, the experts point out that both temperature and the number of hours of sunshine combine in the treatment of this condition.

María Morales Suárez-Varela, who is the principal author of the study and a researcher at the University of Valencia, explains this to SINC. “The study documents the possible influence of climate on the prevalence of atopic dermatitis in girls and boys aged 6 and 7, in the three climatic regions of Spain-- the Atlantic, Mediterranean and Continental regions,” she says.

To show this, the study, which is published in the International Journal of Biometeorology, analyzes 28,394 cases of children from the Spanish cities of Asturias, Bilbao, La Coruna, Pamplona, San Sebastián, Barcelona, Cartagena, Castellón, Valencia and Madrid. All these places are situated in the three climatic regions of Spain. The study uses the questionnaire from the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC) in order to determine the prevalence of atopic dermatitis in the population, using criteria from the Spanish Academy of Dermatology and Venereology (Academia Espanola de Dermatología y Venereología.

Moreover, the researchers have analyzed data provided by the Spanish Meteorological Agency (Agencia Estatal de Metereología) concerning annual temperature, rainfall, relative humidity and the number of hours of sunshine for each of the regions. “Significant differences in the prevalence of the disease were detected in the three regions studied (32.9% in the Atlantic area, 28.3% in the Mediterranean area and 31.2% in the Continental area)”, outlines the researcher from Valencia. The results showed that atopic dermatitis depends on meteorological conditions.

"Given that our data suggests that the disease appears to be associated positively with rainfall and humidity, and associated negatively with temperature and the number of hours of sunshine, the appearance of dermatitis could be prevented, and the status of the lesions could be improved,” Suárez-Varela emphasises to SINC.