The Daily Telegraph

Sticky tape test could spare children the pain of eczema

- By Catherine Lough

A TEST using sticky tape could predict if babies are likely to develop severe eczema, according to a study.

Researcher­s from the University of Copenhagen used the test on a group of two-month-old babies to collect and examine skin cell samples painlessly.

The scientists found detectable immune biomarker changes in cells linked with future eczema risk.

They suggest that babies at high risk of eczema in the future could benefit from early treatment using skin creams to avoid painful flare-ups.

Dr Anne-sofie Halling, from the Bispebjerg Hospital at the University of Copenhagen, said this was the first study to their knowledge to show that

‘Parents could, in some cases, prevent their children from developing the condition in the first place’

non-invasively collected skin biomarkers can be used to predict the onset and severity of paediatric atopic eczema.

She added that there seemed to be an “open window of opportunit­y” in children’s first few months of life, where successful interventi­on may reduce the risk of developing the skin condition.

Eczema affects around a fifth of children in the UK. It has no cure and can have a severe impact on sufferers’ daily lives.

Prof Carsten Flohr, of the British Associatio­n of Dermatolog­ists, said: “While more research needs to be done, it’s possible that with the right advice, parents of at-risk infants could take steps to treat the condition early to minimise its severity when it does occur and, in some cases, even prevent their children from developing the condition in the first place.”

The scientists are presenting their work, funded by the Lundbeck Foundation, at the 31st European Academy of Dermatolog­y and Venereolog­y Congress in Milan.

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