High Transepidermal Water Loss in Infancy Linked to Eczema

High TEWL in infancy linked to atopic eczema at age 2; correlation also seen for infants aged <3 months

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TUESDAY, Nov. 8, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- High transepidermal water loss (TEWL) in infancy is associated with atopic eczema (AE) at age 2 years, according to a study published online Nov. 3 in the British Journal of Dermatology.

Teresa Løvold Berents, M.D., from the University of Oslo in Norway, and colleagues used data from a cohort of infants living in south-east Norway to examine whether TEWL in infants without AE correlated with AE at age 2 years. Children were examined at two visits at a mean age of 6.0 and 24.0 months. Data on TEWL measurements were obtained at both visits for 116 of 196 children.

The researchers found that 19 of 116 children (16 percent) had AE diagnosed at the second visit. After adjustment for potential confounding variables, high TEWL at the first visit correlated with AE at the second visit (odds ratio, 3.32). The sensitivity and specificity were 0.63 and 0.70, respectively, while positive and negative predictive values were 0.29 and 0.91, respectively. High TEWL at the first visit correlated with AE at the second visit when limiting the cohort to 32 infants aged younger than 3 months at the first visit (odds ratio, 7.67).

"We were able to replicate the findings of a larger study, indicating that skin barrier dysfunction may be present in infants before clinical eczematous lesions in AE appear," the authors write.

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