Worse atopic dermatitis (AD) severity is associated with increased odds of learning disorders in pediatric patients, according to a study published in JAMA Dermatology. Investigators used data from 2,074 participants (aged 2-17) in the Pediatric Eczema Elective Registry with a physician-confirmed diagnosis of AD and 10 years of follow-up. Of participants, 8.2% reported a diagnosis of a learning disability. Children with a learning disability were more likely to have worse AD severity, as measured by the median total Patient-Oriented Eczema Measure (POEM) score, POEM severity category, and self-report. Participants with mild AD (odds ratio [OR], 1.72), moderate AD (OR, 2.09), and severe to very severe AD (OR, 3.10) on the POEM were all significantly more likely to report a learning disability versus participants with clear or almost clear skin, after adjusting for sex, age, race/ethnicity, annual household income, age of AD onset, family history of AD, and comorbid conditions. “The findings suggest that children with more severe AD should be screened for learning difficulties to initiate appropriate interventions that can mitigate the consequences of a learning disability,” the study authors write.
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