Children with eczema may suffer mental problems

Updated: Feb 14, 2010, 00:00 AM IST

London: Children suffering from eczema, a
non-infectious skin disease, are more likely to have mental
and behavioural problems in later life, a new study has

According to researchers from Germany`s Helmholtz
Zentrum Munchen, side effects of the skin disease such as
sleep disorders, chances of developing hay fever and asthma,
may lead to psychological abnormalities in later life.

The team, who followed 5,991 children born between
1995 and 1998, found that children who suffered from eczema
during the first two years of life were more likely to
demonstrate mental disorders, particularly emotional problems,
at the age of 10 years compared to those who had not suffered
from the disease, the Telegraph reported.

Dr Joachim Heinrich, who led the study, said: "This
indicates that eczema can precede and lead to behavioural and
psychological problems in children."

Children whose eczema had not cleared up beyond their
first two years of life were more susceptible to mental health
problems than those who only had the disease in infancy, he

"We suspect that it is mainly the secondary symptoms
that have a long-term effect on the emotions of the affected

The study, published in the Journal of Allergy and
Clinical Immunology, also recommend that eczema in infancy
should be recorded in medical records as a potential risk
factor for later psychological problems though the actual
disease disappears during the course of childhood.