April 09, 2014
2 min read

Allergic disease increased risk for psychological disorders, injury

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There is an increased prevalence for psychological or behavioral disorders and injury among children with atopic dermatitis, asthma, hay fever and food allergies, according to researchers.

“Allergic disorders have become a significant global public health burden, and their prevalence has steadily increased over time,” Nitin Garg, MD, and Jonathan I. Silverberg, MD, PhD, MPH, of Northwestern University, wrote.

Nitin Garg

Nitin Garg

They analyzed data from the 2007-2008 National Survey of Children’s Health, including children (n=27,556) aged birth to 5 years. The prevalence of at least one allergic disease was 29.4% (95% CI, 28-30.8). Specifically, 6.6% of the cohort (95% CI, 5.8-7.4) was diagnosed with asthma, 15% (95% CI, 14-16) with atopic dermatitis, 11.6% (95% CI, 10.6-12.6) with hay fever, and 6.1% (95% CI, 5.4-6.9) with food allergy.

Children with allergic disorders appeared to have a greater likelihood of having at least one comorbid psychiatric and behavioral disorder (OR=2.93; 95% CI, 2.13-4.03), including attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (OR=4.75; 95% CI, 2.89-7.8), depression (OR=6.03; 95% CI, 1.29-28.27), anxiety (OR=5.54; 95% CI, 2.7-11.37), conduct/oppositional defiant disorder (OR=2.97; 95% CI, 1.88-4.7), and learning delay (OR=2.49; 95% CI, 1.7-3.66). Autism/Asperger disorder (OR=1.89; 95% CI, 0.98-3.64) was not associated with allergic disorders, the researchers wrote.

Jonathan Silverberg

Jonathan I. Silverberg

The researchers also assessed the prevalence for injuries requiring immediate medical attention (10.5%; 95% CI, 9.5-11.4) and reported that the association with allergic disease was mediated in part by a psychiatric and behavioral disorder based on the Sobel test (P<.0001) and bootstrapping approach with indirect effects (OR=1.005; 95% CI, 1.003-1.007).

Children with at least one allergic disorder (adjusted OR=1.74; 95% CI, 1.23-2.46), including atopic dermatitis (aOR=1.59; 95% CI, 1.01-2.5), asthma (aOR=1.91; 95% CI, 1.1-3.31), hay fever (aOR=2.05; 95% CI, 1.24-3.39), and food allergies (aOR=2; 95% CI, 1.1-3.67), had a greater likelihood of sustaining injuries, however, even after controlling for comorbid psychiatric and behavioral disorders and medical disorders.

“Further studies are needed to elucidate the mechanisms of increased injury risk in allergic disease and identify targets for intervention,” the researchers concluded.

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.

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