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Atopic dermatitis (AD), a chronic, inflammatory skin disease that causes itchy, painful patches on patients has been linked to many mental health disorders, such as depression, anxiety, and suicidal tendencies.

A study conducted by Jonathan Silverberg, MD, PhD, MPH, associate professor of dermatology at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, took a closer look at the links between post-partum depression, and US adolescents atopic dermatitis diagnoses.

The data was gathered by Silverberg conducted and later analyzed by Costner McKenzie, a medical student at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

“We know that emotional factors can exacerbate AD flares and influence the course of the disease,” said Silverberg, in the research paper. “Previous studies have shown that family environment and other environmental factors can have an impact on AD.”

Researchers found that postpartum depression heightened susceptibility of AD developing later in childhood, more persistent AD, and increased sleep disturbance among children with AD.

“Our results further suggest that postpartum depression is associated with AD even in older children and adolescents, with more persistent disease and greater sleep disturbance,” Silverberg said in the study. “This could potentially suggest more severe AD.”

Research is ongoing to confirm the findings and create a plan of attack, the researchers said.  They also suggested that pediatricians should consider screening and early intervention for postpartum depression to identify infants at higher risk for AD.


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Materials provided by George Washington UniversityNote: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Costner McKenzie, Jonathan I. Silverberg. Maternal Depression and Atopic Dermatitis in American Children and AdolescentsDermatitis, 2020; 31 (1): 75 DOI: 10.1097/DER.0000000000000548
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